DISCLAIMER: "Kim Possible" and all characters within (c) The Walt Disney Company and its related entities. Kim Possible created by Mark McCorkle & Bob Schooley. All rights reserved.
SUMMARY: When Drakken accidentally zaps Shego with his Apathy Ray, Kim feels compelled to turn the green woman back to her old self. But how do you provoke a reaction from someone who doesn't care about anything?
TYPE: Kim/Shego, Slash. Don't like it? Don't read it.
RATING: MPAA: PG-13
NOTES: Set a month after "Graduation", and acknowledging everything from the TV show as canon. This is more angst-y than I normally do.
"Okay, Dr D, I'm here." Shego strolled into the lair with an aggrieved expression on her face. "What was so utterly vital I had to cut short my vacation time to come see it?"
"As you know Shego, when we saved the world our criminal records were expunged and I was given several research grants. With the money provided by those fools I have prepared my most ingenious scheme yet!"
"Really? Well, I guess it doesn't really have much in the way of competition."
"What have we said about words that hurt, Shego?"
The green woman rolled her eyes.
"So what's this oh-so-brilliant scheme?"
"Behold!" Drakken produced a silvery ray gun, presenting it with a flourish.
A dark green eyebrow rose.
"You've been shoplifting from Smarty Mart again? How diabolical."
"Shego!" Drakken whined. "This is my most fiendish invention yet! Have some respect!"
"Riiight. So what is it, anyway?"
"Well, I haven't exactly decided on what to call it yet." The one man Blue Man Group admitted. "Maybe my Apathy Ray. Or my En-You-Izer."
"En-you-izer? Dr D, the word is ennui."
"That pronunciation is wack."
Shego mentally counted to ten. Twice.
"Fine, so it's an Apathy Ray. How's that gonna take over the world?"
"It's so simple, it's genius. When I'm called to present my research to the Cerebellum Ultra Smarty Super-Genius Thinking Society, I'll zap all those so-called geniuses, rendering them completely without interest or motivation! Once none of them are doing any more research, the whole world will have to turn to me for scientific advancement, and I shall become ruler of all!" Drakken belated realized that Shego was filing her nails. "Shego! Are you even listening to what I'm saying?"
"Apathy Ray. Zap the brainaics. Conquer the world." Shego waved her nail file in the air. "Woo!"
"You don't seem every excited, Shego."
The green woman smirked.
"Guess you musta accidentally shot me with your doohickey."
"Oh, don't be ridiculous. To do that I would have to point it at you, like so. And then press this button here, like so ..."
Shego gaped, caught completely off guard. Surely even Dr D wouldn't be this stupid – and then the blue-white beam struck her in the chest. Eh, what did it matter how dumb Dr D could be, anyway? It didn't matter to her.
Drakken's mouth moved silently as he realized what he'd done. Then he dropped into a fetal position, covering his face with this arms.
" Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me!" he begged, before finally realizing that Shego was, in fact, not hurting him. That was very strange. He peered up cautiously through his fingers. The green woman was standing slump-shouldered, looking at him with patent disinterest. That at least was more or less normal, though the disinterest seemed rather more pronounced than usual.
"Shego ... I shot you."
"Meh. Don't care."
Drakken slowly got to his feet.
"But ... I shot you." It was the same thing he'd already said, but it seemed like it bore repeating. "I've eliminated your excitement. Destroyed your desire. Junked your joe duh veevruh."
A tiny voice in Shego's head started ranting about the mispronunciation of joie de vivre, but was promptly smothered by a tidal what of "Whatever". She shrugged.
Drakken frowned, his eyebrow migrating several inches down his face.
"This is bad." He informed himself. "I never built a De-En-You-Izer function. If Kim Possible should turn up now –"
"You'd still gasp in shock like you always do?" A frustratingly smug and familiar teenage voice interrupted him.
"Kim Possible!" Drakken gasped in shock. Then stamped his foot. "Damn you, Kim Possible! You think you're all that! But you're not!"
The teen hero stood in the doorway, flanked by her blond sidekick/boyfriend. Drakken fixed them both with his best evil stare. The boy's pink rodent chuckled. "Lame."
"You won't stop me this time, Kim Possible! Not after I zap you and your sidekick, Ron –"
"Booyah! He got my name –"
"- wrong! Dude! It's Stoppable! Stoppable!"
"Hey, the only blue freak around here is you!"
"I don't care what your name is, and in a moment, neither will you!" Drakken snapped, pointing and firing his fiendish new weapon. The two heroes leapt out of the way. Well, Kim leapt. Ron tripped over his own feet, and fell flat on his face. Either way, the beam missed.
"Shego!" Drakken commanded by habit. "Stop Kim Possible!"
The green woman glanced at the redhead, and felt a momentary flicker of interest. But only momentary.
"What?" Drakken sputtered. "But ... you work for me! You have to do what I say!"
Shego shrugged listlessly, obviously uncaring.
Kim, who had dropped into a fighting crouch in expectation of Shego's attack, frowned in confusion. What was going on?
"I got it, KP!" Ron suddenly bore down on Drakken, grabbing at the Apathy Ray.
"That's mine!" Drakken yelled, yanking back on the weapon ... which slipped out of his grip, causing him to fall backwards and knock himself out on his own desk.
"Well ..." Ron said at last. "That was anti-climactic."
"So that's the sitch, Wade." Kim explained as they rode in the ambulance to Middleton Medical Center. "GJ have taken Drakken into custody, but Shego seems to be zonked or something, so we're taking her to the hospital. Have you been able to work out what Drakken's new gadget was from the scan I did for you?"
"It beam from the gun is an electro-static field. It carries dozens of tiny devices within it, particles that can penetrate cloth and skin to enter the bloddstream. Once there, they move to the brain and alter the brain's chemistry in some way." Wade tapped some buttons on his keyboard.
Ron peered over Kim's shoulder.
"Dude! Not mind-control again?"
Wade shook his head.
"The effects don't look that sophisticated."
"Any idea what it does do, Wade?" Kim asked.
"Sorry, Kim. Biology isn't my strong suit. If you want a Turing-capable AI, I'm you're man. But for something like this, I think you're going to the right place already."
"Yeah." Wade's finger's flew across the keyboard. "You want me to e-mail what I've learned through to her?"
"Please and thank you."
"Wade's quite correct, Kimmie." Mrs Dr Possible told her daughter and Ron later that night. "Drew's device does alter the brain's chemistry. I've just got back the test results for Ms Go –"
"Shego." Kim interrupted.
"Her name is Shego, mom. Not Ms Go. Ms ... Miss ... Go was in that body, but she was another person. That's still Shego." Kim glanced through the observation window at the green woman, who lay silently in a hospital bed, staring vacantly at the ceiling above her. "If you can call what's left of her a 'person' any more." She fell silent, biting her lip. "What did Drakken do to her, mom?"
The older redhead sighed, glancing from her obviously anxious daughter to Ron, who was flicking through a medical journal and turning slightly green at the pictures.
"Do you want the Ron-friendly version?"
Dr Possible had hoped that would prompt Kim's normal, chirpy "Please and thank you.", but her daughter simply nodded, and nudged Ron to get his attention.
"Okay, imagine the human brain as a sponge. When we're subjected to certain stimuli, the brain produces chemicals as a response. Think of them as different colors of water. Red for anger, yellow for fear, blue for depression. So if we're angry, our brain soaks up red water ... or yellow water if we're afraid, and so on."
The two young adults nodded their understanding, so Dr Possible continued.
"Drew's nano-devices re-wire the brain so that it only ever produces blue water."
"Depression?" Ron peered down into the room below. "Shouldn't Shego be crying or something, then?"
"Depression, Ron. Not sadness. Even 'depression' isn't quite right, but it's the closest term I've got right now. Shego's brain is telling her that nothing matters. That she shouldn't bother to do anything."
Now it was Kim who looked slightly green.
"What will happen to her if she stays this way?"
Dr Possible frowned.
"It's hard to say for sure, Kimmie. But you saw how she has been so far. She's completely lost all motivation. She speaks ... briefly ... if spoken to. She eats if someone puts the food in front of her. But other than that ... she may well just lie there for the rest of her life."
"How do we fix her?"
"Woah, KP." Ron interjected, looking alarmed. "Is that something we want to do? The world is a much safer place with Shego out of the picture."
"I can't leave her like this!"
"Why not? You were going to leave her when she was Miss Go."
"That was different!" Kim protested, though with a flash of guilt she realized that it was different only in degree. "Miss Go was still a person. She had a life. She had hopes and dreams and aspirations! Friends! That –" she pointed at the still form of the green woman. "- that's not a person any more! She's not living, just existing!"
The younger woman was fighting tears by now, and Dr Possible rose from her desk to pull her daughter into a comforting hug.
"There, there, Kimmie-cub." She soothed. Kim's sobs slowly quieted down, and the younger Possible dried her eyes on her mother's white lapel before looking up.
"Can you operate, take the devices out?"
Dr Possible shook her head.
"They're far too small. I'd have to cut away the parts of the brain they're in, which might cause severe brain damage."
"We have to help her, Mom." She pleaded. "There has to be something we can do!"
"I know, Kimmie. We will find a way." Dr Possible rubbed her daughter's back and fixed Ron with a glare. The boy blinked at her, confused, until she jerked her head at Kim. Then he belatedly came over and hugged his girlfriend.
"Yeah, KP. If you're sure you want to ... help Shego ... that's what we'll do."
"We have to, Ron." Kim mumbled into his shoulder. "We have to."
The next day, Kim and Ron stood in the physical therapy room at the hospital. Two armed guards stood just inside the door, there to make sure that Shego didn't try anything. Kim didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the security.
Shego certainly didn't look like the dangerous type. Her eyes were dull, downcast. Her long hair, usually so carefully tended, hung limp and unbrushed. Even her posture was changed: gone was the relaxed athleticism, replaced with a slight stoop.
"So your Mom said that the only way to break the effects of Dr Drakken's nano-whatsits is to overload them?" Ron asked Kim.
"She said it's the only thing that might work."
"How do we do that?"
"Remember the red water, blue water thing? Well, the brain still tries to produce chemicals like it always has, the nano-devices just change what actually gets made. But there's got to be a limit to how much they can do at once. If we push them past that limit, they should burn out."
"And then we get back the homicidal Shego we know and loathe?"
"She is not homicidal." Kim snapped. Ron paled at her fierce tone and help up his hands placatingly.
"Easy, KP. I'm just pointing out the consequences of what we're doing here. If we succeed, then whatever Shego does after we bring her back is our responsibility."
Kim shook her head.
"The only one responsible for what Shego does is Shego. We're all responsible for our own choices." She glanced at the listless figure in front of them, "Assuming we can make our own choices."
Ron looked unconvinced, so Kim tried another tack.
"Look at it this way, Ron. If Shego fell off a building, and you had the choice of letting her fall, or trying to save her, which would you do?"
Ron was silent. Kim looked at him expectantly for a few moment, then felt her stomach clench.
"You'd ... you'd let her fall?"
"KP, she tries to take over the world!" Ron protested. "People would be safer without her!"
"We would be dead without her!" Kim shouted. "All of us, Ron! She helped save the damn world! She saved me personally at least twice!"
"So that's what this is about? You think you owe her something?"
"No. That's not what this is about. This is about doing what's right."
"And if I don't agree that it's 'right'?" The words were soft, but full of meaning. Kim froze, seeing the flat look in Ron's eyes. Finally, she drew a shuddering breath.
"Then you should leave." She'd always believed that nothing could ever end their friendship. But in the end, all it took was four words.
Kim went with anger.
It made sense to her. Shego had always possessed a fiery temper. Anger should be the easiest emotion to provoke, and the easiest to build up to a point where Drakken's devices would burn out.
"Look at you." She sneered at Shego, poking the older woman in the shoulder. Shego staggered slightly, but her eyes barely slid up to Kim's before dropping to the floor once more. "You're pathetic. Just standing there, doing nothing. You used to be somebody, once. Admittedly, it wasn't much of a somebody ... just the whiny flunkie of a lunatic, all hopped up on your own self-importance, when all you ever were, was the henchwoman." Kim spat the words. "And why was that, do you think? You had the brains. You had the skill. My cousin was right when she said you were the only one of my enemies could really be dangerous. But you never delivered. You were content to play second banana to a freaky blue child-man, instead. Why was that? Were you just scared, Shego? Scared that if you ever really tried you'd find out you weren't as good as you thought? Did you lie awake at night and tell yourself that it was okay to lose, because you weren't really trying? Were you terrified that one day you might give it your all and find out that I. Would. Still. Kick. Your. Ass!" Kim practically shouted the last six words, punctuating each with a sharp poke to Shego's chest.
The green woman shrugged.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you!"
Shego raised her head, her normally porcelain complexion looking dry and uncared for.
"You're pathetic!" Kim raged, and without conscious thought, her hand lashed out and struck Shego across the mouth.
The green woman staggered slightly, a dark pearl of blood welling from her bottom lip. She stared at Kim, eyes wide, fingers shaping as she wiped the blood away from her mouth.
But she didn't do anything more.
Kim sagged to the floor, burying her face in her hands.
"Come on, Shego. I know you must be in there. I just need to find you."
Weeks went by. Kim came to see Shego every day. She raged. She screamed. She slapped and bit and punched. Nothing worked.
Finally, on the twenty third day, her mother stopped her at the door to the physical therapy room.
"This has to stop, Kimmie."
Kim shook her head.
"I have to help Shego."
"I know you want to help, but look at what you're doing to yourself." Her mother gripped her gently by the shoulders and turned her so she could she her reflection in a nearby tinted window. "You look as bad as Shego does. You're not sleeping. You barely remember to eat or to wash. You never see Ron any more. Or Monique. You've had more injuries from missions in the last three weeks than in the whole year before it ..." she trailed off as she saw the mulish look on Kim's face. "... you can't destroy yourself in your efforts to help Shego, darling."
"I can't not help her."
"You soon won't have a choice." Her mother told her gently. "Global Justice has already lodged the paperwork to take Shego into their custody. We can't keep her at the hospital much longer."
"No!" Kim looked stricken at the news.
"It's the law, Kimmie-cub. We can't stop them. I know you want to help Shego ... I want you to, as well. But this time, it might not be possible."
"Anything is possible ..." Kim broke off, unable to finish her father's saying. Her mother embraced her.
"I know you want to help ... but you're just hurting yourself. Making yourself miserable ... is this so important to you?"
"It could be me, Mom." Kim rested her head on her mother's shoulder. "I could be the one sitting in there, needing someone to feed me and wash me and wipe me ... "
"And if it was you, do you think Shego would try to help you, the way you have tried to help her?"
Kim paused, obviously thinking about the question for the first time. Finally, she nodded.
"Yes, I really think she would. Shego always wanted to fight me. To beat me. But this ... this isn't something she would want. This is just like killing someone, for all that the body is still breathing. Shego never killed." She looked up at her mother, tears in her eyes. "You have to let me try. Just this once more."
Dr Possible sighed, kissed her daughter on the forehead, and let her go into the room.
Anger wasn't working. It hadn't worked for three weeks, even though she'd shouted herself hoarse and bloodied her knuckles more than once. And that meant nothing would work, because there was nothing else between them. She had failed. All that was left was to say goodbye.
Kim led Shego to a chair and gently pushed the unresisting woman into it, then knelt on the floor in front of the green woman, clasping Shego's hands in her own.
"I'm sorry." She whispered. "I thought I could do anything, but I can't save you. I've tried, I really have. There's nothing I want more right now than to have you back. Not Miss Go ... I want Shego. The real you. Before ... I always wished we could be friends. You were everything I wanted to be, if only you weren't been a villain. Smart, confident, sexy ..." she blushed a little, a sad smile flickering across her lips, "... I always felt like I could only do two out of three, at best. Something of an admission for the 'girl who can do anything', huh?"
She paused, chewing at her lip a little, then continued.
"But I'm glad ... now ... that Ron accidentally turned you back from Miss Go. I should never have been willing to let you stay that way. She wasn't really you, no matter how much I liked her. I'm glad you got to be the real you for a little longer. I liked the real you. I liked you a lot more than I should have." Her fingers gently caressed Shego's hand. Kim glanced up at Shego, and if her own vision hadn't been blurred with tears, she might have seen the wet shine in the green woman's eyes. "I'm going to miss you. I'm going to miss dodging plasma. I'm going to miss pushing myself beyond what I thought I could do, just to keep up with you. I'm even going to miss blushing when you flirted with me." She let out a dry chuckle and wiped her eyes, not catching a slight quirk of Shego's lips at her words.
"So this is goodbye. Goodbye to the woman who made me a better hero. Goodbye to the woman who saved my life, because she said she wanted it for herself. I think maybe you meant that differently to the way you said it. I sometimes wished you did ..." Kim blushed a little, even though she knew that no-one else would hear, and that the words would mean nothing to Shego, anymore. Not that she could ever have said them, otherwise. "Goodbye to my favorite enemy. Goodbye to the most fun I ever had on a mission. Goodbye to a person who drove me crazy, in every sense of the word. I will miss you."
Kim reached up and embraced Shego, and even though she knew there would be no reaction, she squeezed as tightly as she could, wanting to imagine that the hug might be returned. She could almost feel Shego's arms around her ...
... and then suddenly she was aware that there really were arms around her, and a soft hand stroking her hair. She froze, confused. And then a sultry voice breathed warmly in her ear.
"Is that a Kimmunicator in your pocket, Pumpkin, or are you just happy to see me?"
Author's Notes: Another one-shot. A bit on the angst-y side, and it takes the KiGo-shipper short cut of assuming that there's already mutual (though repressed) attraction between Kim and Shego. This is not really the fic I intended to write when I had the initial idea (I was thinking much lighter; "HLS - it's the cure for all your emotional ills!"). But when I started thinking about what complete inability to care about anything would actually be like, it didn't seem so funny any more. Hence the dramatic change in tone between the first scene, when Shego was mostly herself, and the rest of the tale.
I consider this tale complete at this point. If a great idea for a follow-up occurs to me, I'll probably write it, but it would need to be a great idea. Which means something more than just "how do Kim and Shego make a relationship work?" (a theme many fine writers have already written fine fics about).