Chapter 20: Waking Nightmare

Hi, all! I finally have another chapter up, woohoo! I'll finish the next one as soon as I can. As always, reviews am muchly appreciated.

Time: moments later

Drakken slumped on his ugly but comfy couch, gazing at nothing, for almost thirty minutes. He wanted to get up and maybe get a glass of water—his throat was dry. He thought that perhaps a pain pill would stop his knee from shrieking like a hysterical soprano with needles for sound waves. But he didn't get a pain pill. He didn't get a glass of water. He sat. And thought.

For awhile he just thought about Shego, replaying her kisses over and over in his mind. The feel of her silken hair against his skin, her strong arms around his body, her warm tongue probing his mouth. Yvonne had felt like lightning and had tasted of daring and risk, a heady combination indeed. But Shego had felt and tasted of home. Of commitment. That in itself made Drakken bark out a strange little laugh. Shego, commit to anything? What a silly notion. On the other hand, she had told him straight out that she'd turned herself in to GJ because that was the only way she could see him.

If that wasn't a commitment, what was?

But what kind of commitment was it, exactly? And what would become of it? He was stuck here in this prison house while she was...somewhere else. Probably in a GJ holding cell for tonight. He barked that weird laugh again. She could use her plasma and shred that entire facility to pieces without batting an eyelash. The fact that she wouldn't...

He knew she wouldn't. How did he know? He just did. Shego would be a model prisoner tonight. She would do it for him.

That's why he was afraid for her. Her deal with Dr. Director, her kiss, the longing look in her heartbreakingly beautiful green eyes—what would it all come to, under the circumstances? She was doomed to jail, and whoever had tried to kill him—whoever had lured her in to deliver his death orders—was still out there. Shego was capable of leveling an entire building if she got mad enough, but now? She might consent to hand restraints, power siphons, whatever GJ wanted, all because of her promise to him. And that handicap might leave her vulnerable. If anything happened to her at this point...

Drakken stopped his mind from going in that direction.

After awhile he slowly slowly got up and limped to the little half bathroom just off the living room. He kept a few pain pills in the cabinet there. He shook two out of the bottle and swallowed them dry. It made him quirk a little smile every time he did that. A year ago, taking a small pill without water would have made him choke. Now he popped horse pills dry without a second thought.

Out of perverse curiosity he had once chewed a pain pill. The awful taste had stayed in his mouth for hours, even after four glasses of water, a desperate mouthful of peanut butter, and then a sprinkling of baking soda on his tongue. Nothing had helped, and he had ended up working in his bedroom lab with his tongue hanging out until both taste and the pill's pharmaceutical burn had gone away. Altogether a most interesting, if not disgusting, experiment. I am definitely a scientist, he thought with vague humor. I've always been my own best guinea pig!

So now what? He decided to take a nap. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally. He flopped onto the couch, pulled a pillow under his head, and closed his eyes...

He was kissing Yvonne. She had him pushed up against a wall, her strength oddly overpowering, and he loved it. He was naked, she was naked, she was kissing him with frantic want, and any minute now she would reach down and take hold of him and then...ahhh, and then...

Spaghetti sauce. He doubled over and gripped the knife handle sticking out of his gut while Yvonne stepped back and laughed, telling him that he wasn't worth shit, that he was pathetic, ridiculous, and more than anything else, a failure. He didn't perceive her words as words but as a drumming in his head that echoed over and over, and as pain clouded his mind, he saw Yvonne's body waver, morphing into a dark menacing figure with enormous claws.

The monster suddenly fell sideways as if shoved hard.

Shego did it! She was here to save him! She had kicked the monster far far away, and now she was gripping him by the shoulders and helping him stand. "It's okay," she told him lovingly. "It's okay now."

He tried to tell her it wasn't okay, that he hurt, hurt bad, but he couldn't speak. His strength was ebbing, and all he could do was gawk helplessly down at the bright red blood quickly covering his corpse-blue hands and dripping to the pavement.

"It's okay, Drew," Shego said. She gently pried his fingers off of the knife handle. "I'll take care of it."

She shoved the knife in further, shoved it hard, shoved it all the way through his guts and through his spine and out his back and he heard it clatter to the floor behind him. He expected to feel an explosion of agony, but he was more horrified than anything else as Shego slowly pulled her hand back out of the fist-sized hole she had made in his body, scraping at his exposed guts with her nails as she did. "Now bleed to death," she told him, smearing her blood-covered fingertips across his face. "You aren't good for anything else."

Drakken screamed, screamed so hard he shook with the effort, screamed in blind horror until his vocal chords threatened to snap, and as he screamed Shego stamped her foot on the ground. "Bleed!" she cried each time she stamped. "Bleed!" Stamp. "Bleed!" Stamp. "Bleed!" Stamp—

Drakken jerked awake with a hoarse shout. As the awful dream-images faded he curled up and hugged himself, waiting for the very real pain in his guts to subside. Sweat trickled down his face, and his body hummed with an ugly expectation of even more gore to come. Drakken knew these sensations all too well and forced himself to breathe deeply. Just another nightmare, that's all it was. Just another damned nightmare—

Stamp!

He bolted upright on the couch.

It was only somebody knocking on the door.

"Shit," he panted, and got to his feet. He didn't need to open the door, of course. He heard the hum of a Laser Lockit and then the door opened on its own. A big man in a GJ uniform stood there. "Lipsky?"

"Yeah," Drakken said, still shaking from the dream. He drew the back of his hand across his damp forehead and then ran his fingers through his tousled hair, hoping the agent wouldn't notice anything amiss. "You, uh, you're the new guy..."

"Wabach," the man said. He seemed neither friendly or unfriendly, just sort of...there. Then again, being assigned to monitor the dull daily routines of an incarcerated ex-supervillain wasn't the most exciting of jobs. Drakken figured Wabach wasn't thrilled with his assignment any more than Drakken would have been if their places were switched.

"Okay, we've met," Drakken said. "Now what?"

Wabach entered the house. "Clam it while I take a look around."

Drakken wasn't intimidated by GJ goons anymore. There were worse things living in his own head these days, like the nightmares. A burly guy in a uniform with a snotty attitude was just a nuisance. Drakken shrugged one shoulder and said, "Knock yourself out, pal."

Wabach gave him a nasty glare and proceeded further into the house, scanning the place with unusual interest. He stopped in front of the monitor screen. "Your surveillance system isn't on," he commented rather loudly.

This took Drakken by surprise. "It isn't? Dr. Director used it just awhile ago. She never turns it off. Hm, you're right, it's—"

"Oh, will you just shut your mouth, you blue freak!!"

Drakken whirled to see a tall white-haired gentleman walk through the door, one hand on a cane while the other hand was tucked in his jacket pocket. And a fine jacket pocket it was, being part of a smart silk suit. The man was old, with wild white hair and eyes like black onyx, and there was a powerful dignity about him that immediately struck Drakken. There was nothing "GJ" about this guy.

"Who the hell are you?" Drakken demanded.

The man just frowned at him, the ends of his lips curving downward with unbridled loathing. He stepped aside to allow two more men into the house. These two didn't wear GJ uniforms, just bland coveralls and gloves. They headed straight for Drakken, as Wabach did as well.

Now Drakken knew. The man in the silk suit was the one. His tormentor. His would-be murderer.

The three goons grabbed Drakken, holding his arms and torso tightly and yanking his head back by his hair as if they expected him to explode in a flurry of expert kung fu moves or something. Drakken surprised them—he did nothing. He just stared at the old man, realizing that he was finally seeing his nightmare monster in the flesh.

The mysterious gentleman nodded once to Wabach, and the fake GJ agent took a device from his pocket. It looked like a scanner of some type. In that same instant, the three goons let go of Drakken, though they kept their places.

Before Drakken could think to move, Wabach aimed the device at him and pushed a button. Drakken stiffened as a charge of what felt like electricity sparked through him. It hurt, most of the pain concentrated in one intense ball beneath the skin of his left shoulder, but he couldn't move his mouth to cry out. Since his eyes were stuck open, he could see the old man glowering at him as if hoping Drakken would explode on the spot.

Then it was over. The beam released him, and Drakken sagged, his shoulder tingling, his vision blurry. The goons pushed him toward the door. "C'mon, bud, walk!" Wabach ordered. Drakken tried to obey, but he couldn't make his legs work right, and everything started to lean to one side.

"I don't have time for this!" came the old man's raspy voice.

In response, Drakken felt strong hands grasp his arms and legs. He was lifted up like a sack of chicken feed. He felt helpless in the face of death and wanted to struggle, but his muscles only spasmed uselessly.

The goons carried him to a van outside and threw him into the back of it. Drakken grunted at the impact of hard metal against his spine, then his head smacked against a wheel well.

There was nothing after that.