Like A Stone Inside My Shoe
By Ninnik Nishukan
Summary: Drakken and Shego's realities go splat. Come meet some new faces. Post-Graduation AU.
The day has come for them to evaluate Kim Possible. The game.
And they're approaching the task with unexpected eagerness, Charlie thinks. They have a lot of things to comment on.
Unfortunately for Charlie and Mukunda, a lot of the things they're writing are complaints.
"You should definitely make the sidekick less lippy," George quotes as he's writing.
"And the villain less ranty and bossy," Ava follows up, typing furiously.
"Hey, I wasn't— I mean, the villain wasn't that bad, was he?"
"Rant City, Bossa-fornia."
"Oh, clever, Ava! And you wonder why you're still stuck as a high school teacher— maybe it's because you're so lippy!"
"Oh, lah-di-dah! Listen to Mr. High and Mighty college professor!"
"Uh, guys, you're kinda starting to sound a little like…um— could you please calm down and finish the questions?" Charlie interrupts hastily. "I kinda need to go ahead and send them in by Thursday."
"Sorry, Charlie," Ava says with an apologetic smile.
"It's okay," Charlie reassures them.
George sends him a sheepish grin and shrugs before they return to their computer surveys and continue typing.
"Lose the naked mole rat." Ava reads aloud.
"Make the heroine less perfect!" George demands.
Ava goes on, equally mercilessly: "Hell, yes! She was worse than Superman! So untouchable! At least Superman had Kryptonite! I mean, give the villains a break, huh?"
"Okay…" Mukunda mumbles, taking notes.
"And what's with the kiddie-friendly atmosphere?" George complains.
"Yeah, I mean, don't people ever do anything more than kiss each other and hold hands or what?" Ava asks expectantly.
George shakes his head. "And don't they ever get drunk or, I dunno, smoke or curse or— I mean, it's not like I want them to have orgies and drop the f-bomb every two seconds, but maybe it could be a bit more realistic? I mean, nobody ever dies even if entire buildings blow up!"
Charlie reddens a bit. "Um, well, we prefer to make games that are available for all ages," he mutters.
"Translation: We're owned by Disney." Mukunda says with a smug grin, elbowing his partner.
"Shut up," Charlie groans.
"Fine, then," George sighs. "Just give the villains a break now and then and make the heroine less perfect…oh, and make her sidekick less annoying!"
"Yeah, and what was up with him dropping his pants all the time?" Ava backs him up.
"Just, uh, you know, a running gag for the kids." Charlie mumbles, fixating his gaze on his clipboard.
Ava groans. "Oy vey."
"The feedback from the people who played Kim and Ron was a lot more positive, you know," Charlie tells them, somewhat reproachfully.
George scoffs. "Yeah, I bet. They always won."
"Well, of course!" Charlie blurts, getting a bit upset. "They're the heroes!"
George shrugs. "All I'm saying is that if you expect people to want to play as the villains, you'll have to make it less of a hassle."
Ava nods. "It's supposed to be fun, right?"
Charlie is looking increasingly crestfallen. "Well, I…didn't you have any fun?"
A mischievous little grin appears on George's face. "Well, there were some fun moments…"
Ava chuckles. "Yeah, sometimes it was kinda decent."
"Remember the time we tied Possible and her sidekick to a metal pole and waited for lightning to strike?"
"Hah, yeah! Or the time you tricked her into dating a synthodrone!"
Charlie livens up at that. "See? There you go, then! Fun!"
Mukunda only frowns in concern at the matching smirks of malicious reminiscence on George and Ava's faces. "Right. Fun."
"You know, speaking of Kim Possible and her boyfriend…" George begins thoughtfully. "Will we ever get to meet the people who played them, maybe? I mean, I know I never met them— did you, Ava?"
"Nope, I never did. I think they were in another room." Ava shakes her head, the same puzzled look creeping across her face. "So…who are they?"
"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to divulge that information." Charlie says seriously. "We promised our test subjects that they could remain anonymous with regards to the other test subjects if they wanted to, remember? Except you agreed to be in the same room since you'd met already, through me?"
"Oohh, okay," George says, nodding. "Anonymous. Right. You're obligated to keep their real identities a secret. I understand."
Charlie nods, too. "Yeah."
George clears his throat. "So, um…we don't get any hints at all?"
Charlie sighs. "George…"
"Did the people playing Possible and Stoppable know each other?" Ava asks curiously.
Charlie hesitates, exchanging a quick glance with Mukunda, who shrugs; it doesn't seem like telling them that could hurt. "Nope, they didn't."
"So, were they male? Female? Do we at least get to know how old they were?" George wonders.
Mukunda shakes his head. "Sorry, Mr. Nowak. We have our rules."
Suddenly, Ava is snickering, and everybody turns to her. "Hey, wouldn't it be hilarious if Kim Possible was really a fat and balding fifty-seven year old garbage man?" She asks, elbowing George slightly with a grin.
A short bark of laughter escapes George. "Or what if the buffoon was a trailer park redneck with a dozen children and a permanent guest spot on Jerry Springer?"
George and Ava both start guffawing.
Neither Charlie nor Mukunda are laughing, though. Charlie is just looking at the two with a kind of lopsided frown.
And again, Mukunda has noticed the twin expressions of poorly concealed malign amusement on George and Ava's faces.
Mukunda makes another note on his clipboard: 'Possible side effects may include…'
They're sitting on the floor of his bedroom, half-heartedly watching TV like bored, restive teenagers, their minds elsewhere.
"So...um...first day of work tomorrow." She ventures, her gaze slipping down and apparently locking on her knees, or maybe the bedroom carpet.
He glances at her sideways. "Yep."
He considers it, before finally shaking his head. He's been in his job for too long to be nervous. "Not really. You?"
"It's not really about being nervous, it's about just..." She tries to find the words to explain her feelings, and fails. "...not wanting to go to work."
"Well...Disney did give us a rather generous compensation for being their test subjects." George reminds her.
A small, irritated frown line appears on Ava's brow. "So? Not like that's going to last forever. I have to work."
"Yes, but it would last you until you could find a new job, at least. You don't have to go." He points out, trying to make her be reasonable. She's obviously torn between duty and her own wishes, and it's not as easy as he's trying to make it sound, but...he just doesn't want her to be miserable.
"I have to give a two week resignation notice. I can't just...not show up tomorrow." She says dully.
"Quit in two weeks, then." He presses, his hand hovering above her shoulder for a second, but then retreating. He clenches his hand by his side, hoping she didn't notice.
Ava gives him a wretched look. "I don't know..."
"What's the problem?" George asks, leaning closer, starting to feel more concerned.
Ava has to practically force the next sentence out of herself; Shego never really felt obligated to do anything. Not often, anyway. "Well, my friend Janice works there, too. I'm sure she'd be disappointed if I quit."
George frowns. "But won't she understand it if you're unhappy there?"
Ava notices that she's wringing her hands in her lap, and stops, frowning. "I guess, it's just...before the game, I wasn't. Unhappy with my job, I mean. Not really."
George nods, but doesn't quite know what to say.
A lot of things felt different before the game.
A lot of things.
George Nowak used to have friends at work.
That was before the divorce.
Now, some of them have gotten transferred, as people do, and the rest he knew through his wife, so they don't really speak to him anymore.
He sort of…forgot about that.
It's not that they don't like him, it's more just that…they don't really know him. He's out of touch with the old ones, and he hasn't tried to get to know the new ones.
After the divorce, he just buried himself in his work. Maybe that was why he said yes when Charlie wanted to recruit him for his project.
Oh, well, he thinks as he trudges through the university on his way to his usual lecture hall, only earning the mandatory murmurs of 'good morning' from his colleagues, at least I'm still loved by my students.
When the lecture begins, he still feels that little thrill at having a captive audience. He can tell by the fact that they're even more attentive than usual that whoever subbed for him while he was gone wasn't considered as engaging as professor Nowak.
However, as the minutes tick by, he's getting a bit bored with the contents of his lecture. The things he's teaching them are so…so ordinary, and so are their questions.
Finally, however, he receives an interesting question.
It's from Lauren Ishikawa, a third generation Japanese-American and one of his brightest students. He holds his breath in anticipation as she raises her hand, eager to have the dullness of the lecture so far broken.
"Professor Nowak," Lauren's voice rings out, clear as a bell, "I'm just wondering…in our lifetime, do you think we'll ever see the kind of highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence we see in the movies?"
He gives Lauren and the rest of the students a huge grin. "Of course it's possible! Why, when I built the Bebes, I—" He freezes, his mouth opening and closing.
Lauren frowns. "Uh…the 'Bebes', professor?"
"Um…" George can feel his face flushing with embarrassment, his throat going dry. "Oh, ahah, just my little joke! I mean, in the future, I suppose anything might be possible at the rate we're going now! If not in my lifetime, then perhaps in yours!"
Lauren looks a little puzzled, but nods politely. "True, professor."
George experiences a heavy, queasy sensation in his gut as he truly realizes, once and for all, that there are so many, many things he can't do now that were possible in that game.
Now, here, they're only possible in the movies and series in his science fiction collection.
It's like having been given the ability to play the piano like Mozart and then losing the ability just as quickly, right before an important concert.
If only he could show his students even a fraction of the things Dr. Drakken was capable of…!
But he's not Drakken. He's professor Nowak, and he has a class to teach.
So he drones on about the history of robotics from the sixties to the present day, listening to his students eagerly taking notes as he displays his fancy PowerPoint slideshows.
He used to find this stuff honestly fascinating.
Now, after having built robots that were capable of independent thought to the point of rebelling against their maker, it all seems endlessly dull. Now, after he's seen mutants and human clones— he was cloning people, just like that— and giant lasers capable of destroying entire cities, it seems so utterly, utterly—
Somewhere, hovering at the back of his mind, there's an elusive, yet increasingly clear mental image of what the university would look like if he conjured up a batch of homemade explosives and just—
"Boom," he whispers quietly to himself when the lecture is over and the students flock to his desk to ask him questions.
Ava Bernstein has friends at work. Several. Shego wasn't used to having friends.
Luckily, Ava is.
And it's...actually not bad. A little chatter over coffee, a little comparing of schedules, a little gossip...socializing. Shego was never too good at that.
Being...nice to other people who are already being nice to her isn't too hard. It's interesting. Makes her feel good.
"Hey, Ava," Janice is sidling up to her now with her usual cup of over-brewed, funny-smelling herbal tea. "How did you-know-what go, hmm?" She asks, trying to keep her voice down.
"It went...fine," Ava shrugs. "Nobody died." She jokes evasively.
Janice laughs. "Then I assume Charlie treated you guys decently and I don't have to kick his ass." She elbows Ava, winking. "How about your...uh, you know, 'partner in crime'? He any cute at all?"
"Oh, he's...uh, nice." Ava clears her throat, smiles a little. "We're sorta...keeping in touch, actually."
Janice grins widely. "Is that what the kids call it nowadays?"
Ava rolls her eyes. "Funny, Janice."
"Hey, listen, I'll talk to you later, I have to get to class." Janice bumps her hip with Ava's, sends her a conspiratorial smile. "Let's go out this weekend, okay? Celebrate? Yeah? I'm sure my hubby wouldn't mind watching the baby."
Ava is humming to herself on the way to her classroom.
The second Ava walks into her classroom, however, seeing her students again feels like nails across a mental blackboard. She never particularly liked them per se, but now…now she wishes she was somewhere entirely elsewhere.
"Where you been, huh, Bernstein?" Jeremy asks in his usual loudmouth manner, feet up on his desk, chair tipping precariously backwards in a way he probably thinks is rebellious and cool.
Crap. She'd almost forgotten about Jeremy.
"I bet she's pregnant," Ava hears one of the bleach blonde girls at the back whisper to her friend.
"Uh huh, and I bet she's banging the math teacher…!" Bleach blonde number two hisses back in delight.
"Mr. Carlton? Eww…! He's all…like, old and dandruffy!"
"I've been to Hawaii," Ava says just a bit too brightly. "It was an exchange program through the school."
"Yeah?" Jeremy demands. "Then how come we didn't get a teacher from Hawaii when you were gone?"
"And why are you so pale?" One of the blonde girls chimes in, backed up immediately by her friend: "Yeah, shouldn't you have a tan if you've been to Hawaii?"
"Pregnant," a third girl, this one a brunette, contributes in a stage whisper, and there's a trio of giggles from the back.
"Let's just get started, huh?" Ava says through gritted teeth, picking up a piece of chalk.
Not all the students are brats. Some of them are even decent; some of them make the job almost worth it. But a lot of them…
She can picture it perfectly in her mind, how they'd scream if she destroyed the pillars with her plasma and jumped out the window, leaving her students to be crushed under mortar and steel as the roof would collapse.
How their voices would be cut off suddenly, like somebody turning off a noisy, bad record at a party to put on something better.
How her headache would go away.
But she doesn't have her powers.
So she teaches the obnoxious teens about the periodic table of elements while trying to ignore her headache.
Shego would have just pushed the chattering girls' desks apart, kicked Jeremy's carelessly tilted chair over and given them a nice, fear-inducing lecture, accompanied by some green, glowing incentive to just shut the hell up and do whatever she said.
No, wait— Shego would never even have been here in the first place. She'd have been relaxing on a beach somewhere or knocking over a bank or entertaining herself by mocking her Dr. D.
But she's not Shego.
By the end of the day, Ava's head is practically throbbing.
After the workday is over, Ava surprises George by the fact that she's waiting for him in the parking lot, with a long coat, scarf, gloves, knit hat and a tired scowl.
George takes one look at her conflicted facial expression and refrains from comment, simply following her and getting in her grey Volvo, leaving his own red Toyota there, despite the bad weather. It doesn't seem to matter.
It looks like she's had a strange day at work, too, and needs some company.
By some kind of silent consent, they decide to have dinner together, so they go out grocery shopping, maneuvering the cart between rows of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, toilet paper, shampoo, bread and cereal.
When they get to the candy shelves, Ava heads straight for the dark chocolate. She's got a sweet tooth that Shego didn't have, which is probably why she weighs around seven pounds more than Shego.
Well…that, and the fact that she's not a twenty-seven year-old Kung Fu-ing villainess with super powers who has to stay in shape to fight a girl about ten years younger than her every week.
Maybe I should apply for that job as a gym teacher, she muses, and there's a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach. She doesn't want that job, either.
She notices that George is standing just behind her shoulder, waiting for her to finish.
Ava clutches the large bar of mint-filled, dark chocolate tightly in her hand, staring straight ahead, seemingly right through the shelf and at something faraway.
"Are you getting that or not?" George asks, and the shade of irritated impatience in his voice reminds her of—
"Are you as bored as me?" She asks quietly, and feels him lean forward; he's probably frowning now.
"Are you as bored as me?" She repeats, turning to him and meeting the dark brown of his perplexed eyes.
"Wha— well, I dunno, I…what do you mean?" He babbles, blinking.
She raises an eyebrow, and there's a sudden understanding on his face. "Yes." He breathes, his fingers finding her wrist and encircling it. He can feel her pulse point jumping insistently against his skin.
"Let's leave the cart here and just take this," Ava presses suddenly, with a certain air of desperation. "In fact, let's take two. You can put them inside your coat…!"
"But what about the groceries—"
"We'll shop somewhere else," she persists, pushing the chocolate towards him.
Before he even knows what he's doing, he's got them stashed inside his coat and they're strolling out of the store as nonchalantly as they can, trying not to laugh.
They make it down to a small bridge in the nearby park, sputtering and giggling hysterically, snow crunching underfoot as they run away from the store, and then they're leaning on the bridge and breaking off pieces of chocolate and laughing helplessly as they eat.
Ava is gasping for breath. "Oh, jeez, I can't believe— this is so lame!" She declares, but keeps laughing.
"Stealing chocolate like a couple of brats! We're too old for this!" George objects, panting.
Ava elbows him. "Hey, speak for yourself!"
He grunts. "I'm just saying—"
She grins widely. "I know what you meant. Lighten up, gramps."
He scowls. "Don't be cute."
Her grin curls into a teasing smirk. "I can't help it, I was born that way."
They're bantering, they suddenly realize.
She leans on him, probably too close, grinning. "Maybe next time, we should go for something bigger."
His tone is oozing dry sarcasm. "Oh, yeah, next time it'll be a couple of T-bone steaks, huh?"
Her laughter rings out beautifully, her breath freezing in the air in fluffy little puffs. "Or maybe a Pan Dimensional Vortex Inducer!" She jokes, squeezing his arm.
She doesn't comment when his arm finds its way around her waist, and he figures it's because it's cold; nevertheless, it makes him feel a bit elated.
"Do you miss it?" George asks, then, and she immediately knows that he's referring to those other identities, that other life.
"Not right now," Ava answers, sounding slightly out of breath as she leans over, lips parting.
He tastes like shoplifted chocolate.
Shoplifted chocolate and electricity—
"…George?" She murmurs, trying to focus her hazy gaze.
He clears his throat, squinting. "Umm…Ava?"
They stare at each other.
No. Not George and Ava. Not anymore.
Blue skin, green skin, lab coat, cat suit, ponytail, long, long hair—
"Dr. D." She says flatly.
He exhales in relief. "Shego…"
"Where are we?" She asks, noticing that they're strapped down to a couple of metal chairs that seem to be only part of a large, warm but silent machine; as if the power has just died out.
He scouts around— they appear to be in some sort of dark underground room— as she quickly melts through her own restraints before she goes on to remove his. Then they make short work of the strange sets of red, rubber-tipped wires stuck to their foreheads and temples.
"I…we're not in the game again." He states firmly, but immediately wavers, turning nervous: "Are we?"
Shego shakes her head with conviction. Getting her powers back feels so wonderful that she almost wouldn't even care if it was the game, but she's sure it's not, and he glances at her before nodding as well.
The simple fact that their memories are returning much, much faster this time seems to tell them that this is the real reality. It just feels…right.
He stands up. "No, I don't remember us going back to TWE, we were—"
"Down by the bridge." She finishes.
"We kissed." He recalls suddenly, looking at her in awe.
Shego cringes a little. "Yeah, um, about that—"
"I…I liked that part." Drakken blurts out without thinking; he blames it on the dizziness.
Shego feels her heart leap in her chest, her gut pinching, panic rising steadily. "L-listen, don't get carried away, Doc, it was all just—"
Drakken knows it's insane, but he has to follow up on this now, before she squirms herself out of his grasp again like a slippery little herring. "—but, but Shego, things have been weird between us for weeks— no, months, so you can't tell me that that…thing in the game, wasn't— that it's not some sort of sign—"
Shego grabs his arm, shaking him a little. "Wait, Dr. D, this is no time for— we don't even know where we are right now!"
But Drakken is grabbing both of her arms now, holding her in place. "We'll find out! Just—"
She doesn't believe in so-called 'signs', but— but it didn't mean nothing, she thinks, and is suddenly a little saddened at not having Ava's straightforward emotional frankness anymore. "Drakken, stop kidding around," she says instead, interrupting him with her best stern teacher voice.
"You're right, yes, we have to get out of here," Drakken licks his lips, nodding as he lets her go. "But Shego, you have to promise that…that later, we'll talk about…about us!"
"Is that a suggestion, a plea or an order?" Shego replies dryly.
"All of the above?" He suggests, hopeful.
"I don't know, this is all so sudden…!" She sighs, in a blunt parody of a surprised and swooning heroine.
"Look," he snaps, waving a dismissive hand, "as long as you'll at least agree to acknowledge that something is going on between us, we can talk about the rest longer down the road!"
She cocks an eyebrow. "How much longer?"
"Um…very?" He hazards.
She shrugs. "Okay, I'll bite. Now let's skedaddle."
He nods eagerly. "Right!"
"Where are we, anyway?"
"You are in the lair of the GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ— no, no, no, that's not it— crap, and I rehearsed this and everything— Mittens, get away from the control panel, you stupid cat! This is all your fault!"
Drakken and Shego share a disoriented look.
"Uh, hello?" Drakken calls out, trying to see beyond the foggy interior of…wherever they are. If he didn't know better, he'd swear that whoever it is has rented a smoke machine just to appear more dramatic.
"HELLO!" The voice booms. "You are being held captive by LORD MÖGARTH! Tremble in fear!"
Drakken's monobrow shoots up. "Who?"
"Captive? Yeah, uh, not so much. Unless you haven't noticed, we're in the process of escaping, Lord Moron." Shego snarks.
"Oh, I never thought I'd say this, Shego, but I just realized how much I've missed your sarcasm!" Drakken gushes suddenly, grinning at her.
Chuckling, she rolls her eyes. "Hey, I never thought I'd actually miss your monobrow, either." She shoots back, getting a scowl in return.
"E-EXCUSE ME?" Lord Mögarth snaps. "Can we have the attention back to ME, please?"
Drakken snorts. "Villains don't tell their so-called captives 'please'. What kind of amateur are you?"
"I am Lord Mögarth!" The voice exclaims, a little less ominous and a little more indignant now. "So…so just be QUIET and get back in your chairs and let my minions strap you down, OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!"
A pair of hesitant young men dressed in red uniforms with purple visors and matching boots and gloves shuffle out of the smoke, one of them holding a cattle prod and the other brandishing what looks like a movie prop halberd.
Shego gives a disgusted scoff, tilting her hip. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
Drakken looks the two 'minions' up and down in disbelief. They can't be older than eighteen. "What is this, some kind of fraternity hazing stunt?"
Shego grunts with impatience. "What sorta lame—"
"Ahah!" Lord Mögarth's voice echoes in the large room. "Lame, you say? Well, could a bunch of lame frat boys have managed to capture the infamous Dr. Drakken and Shego and hold them captive for— for nearly an hour?"
"Oh, so it's only been an hour?" Drakken remarks, brightening a bit. "How did you capture us, anyway?"
"Easy!" Lord Mögarth laughs derisively. "We simply incapacitated you just as you were on your way to the Karaoke Cavern! All it took was a little shock of electricity and— whammo! You never saw it coming!"
"So you got me out of karaoke night, huh?" Shego says, looking thoughtful. "Gee, I think I'll have to send you a fruit basket just for that."
"Shego!" Drakken yells, turning red.
"DO NOT MAKE LIGHT OF THE NEFARIOUS LORD MÖGARTH!" The voice bellows.
However, Shego is completely unperturbed by the admonishments. "Hey, Lord Mogey, I was wondering— what about Possible and her little boy toy? They were mentioned a few times. Does that mean you got them strapped down somewhere, too?" She asks, taking a look around.
Lord Mögarth releases an exasperated snort. "Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable? Why would I capture them? They don't have any super powers I can steal! I didn't even bother adding them to the program other than in name only. Way too much work otherwise. I mean, really, you'd be surprised how much work it takes to program something as simple as a background, even—" He halts, then, as if realizing that he's getting distracted. "Anyway!" He exclaims abruptly. "That's not important! What's important is that you are AT MY MERCY AND WILL OBEY M—"
"Oh, put a ham in it, Lord What's-your-face!" Drakken barks, finally getting fed up. "Shego, rough these guys up. I'll go deal with this infernal machine of his—"
"No! Not the machine! I was going to use it to steal your powers!"
"Well, it looks like it didn't work." Shego says, letting her plasma flare up.
Lord Mögarth splutters. "B-but— that's not my fault! It takes time! I needed you to be fully immersed in the virtual reality program first so you wouldn't wake up! And you were! I was just about to—"
Shego shoots an overbearing look in the general direction of Lord Mögarth's voice. "Uh, yeah, about the program? Lamest virtual reality ever! I mean, Volvos and Star Trek?"
"Hah, yes! As if that would hold us! We obviously just got bored and broke free!" Drakken continues triumphantly.
Lord Mögarth's voice takes on a patronizing tone. "Uh, no, actually, it wouldn't have mattered at all what kind of program it was, once you got far enough into it— you were trapped! I could've put you in a Cuddle Buddies cartoon if I'd wanted to, and it wouldn't have made any difference!" He explains, clearly trying to convey that they have no idea what they're talking about. "The only reason why it didn't work is because Mittens stepped on the control panel and cut the power to the machine!"
"Oh." Drakken blinks. So much for mind over matter.
"Well, I don't know who…'Mittens' is, but hey…thanks, Mittens!" Shego laughs evilly, and advances on the two 'minions', who are now practically shivering in their purple boots.
"…excuse me?" Drakken and Shego whirl around, and catch sight of a third person. Judging by the guy's outfit, he must be the leader. And if the big 'LM' on his chest is any indication, this is Lord Mögarth.
Lord Mögarth is of average height, with a long, red coat, a purple cape that's too long for him, and a pair of immense, black, shiny leather boots with matching leather gloves. He's also wearing what looks like a wrestling mask, and he's holding a megaphone.
"Jeez Louise." Drakken shakes his head, wondering what's become of the new villains of today. "Shego, take care of this."
"You won't get away with this!" Lord Mögarth insists, trying to swish his cape dramatically. He only ends up almost tripping over it.
Shego clucks her tongue. "Didn't anybody ever tell you that putting red and purple together is a big fashion don't?"
"You know, Shego," Drakken says with a nasty smirk. "I've been wanting to test out these new plant powers of mine some more…"
"Go to it, Dr. D." Shego smirks back, her hands igniting, glowing green. Oh boy, I've really missed that, she thinks. "I'll handle the goons."
Lord Mögarth gawks, and completely forgets to use his megaphone when he speaks next: "Wait, you can't, you're— you're heroes! You— you—"
When they hear his real voice, they can tell he's a lot younger than they thought. They pause, exchanging a glance that clearly says: Newbie. He had a clever idea, and he got lucky with managing to capture them, but he's a complete and utter novice. Can't be more than nineteen. Borrowed mommy's secret lab.
"We're not heroes," Shego says with deliberate slowness.
"We're just a couple of villains who saved the world from aliens once because we happen to live here." Drakken finishes, in much the same overbearing tones. "Just because we've been a little…quiet lately, it doesn't mean we're reformed!"
"But— but— I thought—" The novice stammers as he watches the now infamous plant crawling out of Drakken's collar, moving almost like a snake, but quicker.
By the time they're done with the wannabe villain and his so-called minions, Lord Mögarth is curled up in a fetal position on the floor, vowing to become a chiropractor instead, like his father wants him to.
Mittens simply sits and watches with indifference, calmly licking her white paws.
"Maybe we could use this machine ourselves," Drakken says then, studying the device with a contemplative glint in his eyes.
Shego shakes her head in a very resolved manner. "Dr. D…ask yourself this…would you really want to go on to your next evil scheme knowing you've ripped the idea off from Lord Mama's Boy and the Rascals here? Or worse, risk getting stuck in that virtual reality program again?" Her calm demeanor cracks a bit, then, as she grits her teeth: "I dunno about you, but I've been Attitudinated, Moodulated, turned into Ava Bernstein, thirty-two-year-old high school teacher, not to mention that you put a mind control chip on me once— so I am not going to have my behavior modified yet again!"
Drakken grimaces. "Eh…you've got a point."
So they destroy the machine before they leave.
And the blueprints.
Half an hour later, Team Possible— summoned by an anonymous phone call that Wade received twenty minutes earlier— busts into Lord Mögarth's secret basement lair.
The virtual reality machine may have been destroyed, but the several hundred thousands of dollars worth of stolen parts found there ensure Lord Mögarth and his minions a nice little trip to jail.
Later that evening, when they've gone grocery shopping and have gone home again, Shego notices a smudge of shoplifted chocolate in the corner of Drakken's mouth as they're sitting casually in front of the TV, resting after the long day. Apart and not touching, like friends or companions.
Usually, she might've just retired to her room, and he might've gone to work on something-or-other in his lab.
Tonight, things are apparently different.
Without thinking, she reaches over to wipe the chocolate off…and finds herself lingering there, in front of his face. He ventures an uncertain smile as she drifts closer.
He tastes like shoplifted chocolate, fear, joy, hesitance, eagerness, lust and affection and— warm, soft, wet, reassuring, exciting, scary—
"Do you miss it?" Drakken asks a bit hoarsely as their lips part, and she immediately knows that he's referring to those other identities, that other life.
"Don't be stupid," Shego answers, her face drawing nearer to his again.
Chocolate never tasted this good there.
Author's note: I'm sure this ending raises plenty of questions regarding the virtual reality program, but I probably won't be able to answer most of them. Sorta like the KP people did when writing their episodes, this story was just me having a little fun (with AU this time)— and, like a regular KP episode, it probably left me with a bunch of plot holes for the sake of fun. XD And there won't be a sequel, no.
Hope you enjoyed it, anyway.
I realize this story is sort of similar to Symbiosis, the third instalment in The Ones That Never Happened, at least in that it describes an altered reality that pops back to normal at the end, but I just couldn't resist writing it. XD
Please take note of the fact that what George and Ava wrote in their evaluation forms does NOT necessarily reflect my own opinions on KP. It's just what I imagine two real world adults might say after playing as the villains for a week in a Disney-verse.
Thanks to Charlotte C for doing the beta once again. Be sure to keep an eye out for her fabulous story Long Strange Trip, which will be updated soon. I swear, that story just keeps getting better and better!
Lord Mögarth: Name inspired by what Billy's dad insisted his name was in the Battle of The Bands episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. I had no idea how to spell what he said (it sounded sorta like MEEEUUGAARRR XD), so I just made something up.
I just thought it might be funny if D/S were mistaken for heroes once and ended up behaving much like Kim and Ron do when they've been captured— i.e. mocking the villain. I also thought it might be interesting to see Drakken trying to cheer up Shego instead of vice versa— even though it wasn't technically Drakken and Shego, but George and Ava.