"So tell me again how to do this," said Kim nervously.
Shego sighed in exaggerated exasperation. "It's simple, pumpkin. Just stick the spindly, protruding end in here and give it a swirl."
"I can't believe you thought this would be a good idea."
"You're the one who's been whining for the past week about trying it out!"
"Maybe we should've started with something simpler…"
"This is as easy as it gets. Trust me. Now c'mon, cupcake. You can do anything. That's it… thaaaat's it… right there."
"How am I doing?"
"So far so good."
"I'm doing it! I'm doing it!"
"Mmmm. Now do it clockwise at an eighty degree angle, and… Perfect. Congratulations. I proclaim thee officially capable of whisking cookie batter. See? That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"That was awesome! What's next?"
"Baby steps, pumpkin. Baby steps."
Kim leapt at Shego, her arms extended for an excited hug, her mouth emitting enthusiastic "thank you!"s.
Shego couldn't remember a time she felt more at ease. The afternoon sun was shining languidly through the apartment windows. The kitchen radio, set stolidly beside them on the counter, whined an upbeat tune. And Kimmie was right where she wanted her: in her arms squealing.
Well. Not the way she wanted her to be squealing. But still. As she had told the pumpkin, baby steps. Shego chuckled and gently pried Kim off her person. "It's not over yet. We still have to, y'know, bake the cookies. Amongst other things."
"Couldn't we just call it a day now when things are going so well?" Kim looked up at Shego pathetically. Shego stared incredulously right back at her.
"C'mon, princess! This'll be a piece of cake. So to speak."
Thirty very trying minutes later, a frazzled Shego slipped a pan of cookies – well, "cookies" – into the oven. The previously immaculate kitchen, now marred with a surfeit of cookie dough stains and, strangely enough, scorch marks, was silent as she shut the oven door and pressed the appropriate buttons. Shego slumped to the floor against the oven rubbing her temples gently.
Kim sat down gingerly beside her. On the verge of saying something, anything to break the tense silence, she opened and closed her mouth a few times.
"For what it's worth, dripping cookie batter circles is a lot harder than it looks," Kim finally mumbled.
Shego exhaled loudly through her teeth… and began chuckling. Kim heaved a sigh of relief before joining in.
"So, um… sorry about the kitchen. I'll clean it all up, I swear!"
Shego brushed herself off and got to her feet. "Uh, you better!"
"I told you something horrific was going to happen. That's just how it is with me and all things culinary," Kim snorted as she loaded the dishwasher. "We should've stopped while the going was good."
"At least we have a batch of delicious baked goods in recompense," murmured Shego, a crooked smile resting lazily on her face as she leant against the oven. A mischievous thought popped into her head as Kim rinsed and squeezed a rag and began wiping off some of the stains near the sink. She swabbed some of the spilt flour on the countertop with a finger. "Kimmie? You, uh, you missed a spot."
Kim tilted her head. "Oh, really? Where?"
"Right here," snickered Shego as she smeared the white substance under Kim's nose. A snort (or five) of laughter promptly spurted from her mouth. Man, the expression on the pumpkin's face was priceless! "Better lay off the crack, cupcake. I think it's fried your brain."
"Oh, no you didn't," said Kimmie, before grabbing a handful of chocolate chips and anointing her friend with it.
"You have just woken a sleeping bear," Shego growled in jest as she flung sticky pieces of eggshell at her enemy. Kim's reply was non-verbal: an egg smushed and dribbling down the middle of Shego's sternum.
The next five minutes were a blur of laughter and flying ingredients.
Shego slumped against the island counter, panting hard. She waved a flour-white hand as high as she could. "Truce," she wheezed out.
An equally exhausted "Truce" sounded right above her, just as a squidgy, egg-white daubed hand grabbed hers, squeezed, and let go. Shego's face betrayed nothing of the jolt of adrenaline that had suddenly jostled at her heart. Well… her mouth may have quirked a little. Maybe. That's it. She definitely wasn't blushing or anything. No, really.
Fortunately, Kimmie couldn't see her face, perched on the island counter as she was. Shego cleared her throat. "Well, I guess this means I'll be helping you with the sanitising." She grabbed a mop and bucket.
"D'you still think that one batch of cookies provides sufficient recompense?"
"Mehhh… You can't bake a cake without breaking a few eggs. Or, well, in this case, you can't bake some cookies without sullying my entire kitchen."
Kim snorted. "The next time you feel the urge to teach me a useful survival skill, please remember this incident."
"But Kimmie! Who's going to make me delicious baked goods when I'm all old and decrepit?!"
The hero stopped in the middle of her cleaning and looked at her. "You really think we're gonna stay friends until we're old and decrepit?"
Shego paused inscrutably. "I think we'll, uh, be together until I am old and decrepit. By the time you're doddering about, I may very well be dead," she teased.
"Aww, c'mon, you're not that much older than me!" scoffed Kim.
"Seven years is a large gap, princess. That's, like, almost a decade! In any case, we might not even live long enough to join the elderly. People in our line of work tend not to last very long. And there's always going to be someone younger, someone better… You can't stay at the top forever. Even if you are comet-powered and incredibly limber."
"Ngeh… I didn't know you were such a pessimist."
"It's called being a realist," said Shego, resuming her mopping. "And it's better than looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses and having unreal expectations that are bound to be disappointed."
"But… but… anything's possible for a Possible!"
Shego groaned. "For a second there, I forgot who I was talking to."
"Heh… you sound like you think I'm a Disney princess or something."
"Well, hey. If she's pretty like a Disney princess, and she's perky like a Disney princess, and I call her 'princess'… Hell, I bet no one would notice if you replaced that girl in that movie Enchanted!"
"Y'know, I have always wanted to have animals do my bidding…" Kim began skipping around in an unnervingly accurate caricature of Giselle, complete with animal calls and coy giggles. Then, pausing suddenly in mid-bounce and effecting an exaggerated swoon, "oh, and to be assured a happy ending…"
"She didn't exactly have the most conventional happy ending."
Kim sniffed. "Prince Charming was kind of bland anyway. I'd much rather the jaded and fallible McDreamy."
Shego was in a good mood for the rest of the week.