Yeah, so this isn't a part of one of my many unfinished Harry Potter stories. Harry and I are on a break right now. This is... something else.

Disclaimer: This fic includes relationships that are, because of the ages, illegal in some places. Not all places, so it's not that bad, but some places.

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On the Other Side of Forever

Chapter 1: Strangers in the Night

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Afterward, Shego always questioned how much of what she remembered of that night was real and how much was a dream. If it weren't for the fact that she woke up in a hotel room in a bed covered with rumpled sheets that smelled of sex, she'd have discounted the whole thing. But that wasn't the case. She did wake up in that bed, the taste of another woman's lips still on hers and a deeply satisfied ache in her bones.

The day before had started out… well, it'd been bad. Every day since she'd left Team Go had been bad, and yesterday was on the top of that heap. She'd been on her own for two weeks and her meager funding had dwindled to nothing. She had been hungry, homeless, and desperate. Combine that with the generally unstable mood of a teenager, lots of unresolved childhood emotional trauma, and her ever-present anger at her oldest brother, and it made for a volatile combination.

Years before, after their parents had died, Harry had stepped up to raise the lot of them. That'd been good, but in the process, he'd never really had time to grieve. That was probably why he built an elaborate fantasy world for himself where he was an all-conquering super-hero. Shego always felt that he'd have probably have concocted something similar, even without the powers.

He convinced or coerced his siblings into forming Team Go and for a little while things were good. Unfortunately, Harry, or Hego as he referred to himself, didn't deal well with things that contradicted or questioned "reality".

He and Shego had a falling out. They'd had several, really, but the one two weeks ago had been the last straw. Hego was… he was just so… urgh.

Anyway, two weeks after leaving home, she'd hit bottom. There weren't many ways in which a sixteen year old girl, a high school dropout at that, could make enough money to support herself. At least, there weren't many that Shego even cared to contemplate.

She wasn't completely without options or resources, of course. She had the powers the meteor had left her, and she had the skills she'd learned during her two years as a crime fighter. Some of those crime fighting skills, especially the stealth skills, could just as easily be used for nefarious purposes, she'd realized.

It'd taken her over a week to subdue her conscience enough to try it.

The night she'd finally chosen to act was cold and drizzly. The heavy mist in the air seemed to muffle sounds and turned every street lamp into a small island of light in a see of damp nothingness. It would have been the perfect cover if only it didn't wet her to the skin and make her teeth chatter.

The street was deserted, but it still took her a good ten minutes to get up the nerve to take her first hesitant step toward what would have been a profitable, exciting, and utterly unfulfilling life of crime.

That first step was all she managed to take.

A soft clearing of the throat alerted her to the fact that someone had joined her in the light of the streetlamp. The other person, female from the tone of her cough, was dressed in a drab overcoat that reached her knees. Between that and the matching fedora, which was pulled down low over her ears, she was nondescript.

"You probably don't want to do that," the stranger commented.

"D-do what? I was-wasn't-" Shego stammered, but the woman interrupted her.

"You were. It would have worked, too, and you wouldn't have figured out why it was the biggest mistake of your life for a long time." The woman came closer and Shego could make out shadowed features under the hat. "You're wet. Are you hungry? There's a diner around the way. My treat."

Whereas seconds before she'd managed to gather the courage to go through with her first real criminal act, Shego's fragile resolve had been shattered by the interruption. Just the presence of this woman was unnerving her and making what had seemed so simple so very hard.

"I guess," Shego said and the woman moved closer still, placing a warm hand upon her shoulder and gently urging her in the right direction. As they walked, Shego kicked herself for ever thinking she'd be able to get away with something as simple as a robbery. Maybe Hego was right. She screwed everything up.

Inside an old but warm restaurant, Shego got her first real look at the woman that'd invited her to dinner. When she doffed her hat and coat, she was a little older than Shego had expected, though not too old to be attractive. Her shoulder length red hair, green eyes, and lithe form stirred something in Shego that she'd been trying to deny ever since Hego'd caught her kissing Marcy Hendrix six months ago and had a screaming fit. Even though she looked somewhere between thirty and forty, she was gorgeous.

The lady ordered two coffees and told Shego to order anything she wanted. The fluttering in her chest made Shego hesitate for a moment, not wanting to look like a pig, but her stomach would have nothing of it and she ordered a burger.

The two sat in silence for a while, the older woman at ease, and Shego in a state of nervous yet uncertain anticipation. Go City was a big place. She'd heard all sorts of stories about people (mostly men in the stories) that preyed on young runaways. They'd give her a meal, gain her trust, and then they'd want sex. Worse yet, they might somehow talk their victim into a life of prostitution for them.

While she was attracted to the woman, she certainly wasn't at a point in her life where selling her body seemed like an acceptable solution. If the woman expected that, she'd be in for a plasma-induced awakening.

Eventually, the burger came and Shego threw caution to the wind as she ate it far faster than she should have. In the end, she felt full but slightly queasy. At least it was an improvement over the gnawing hunger she'd felt rising over the last few days as her ability to buy food dwindled.

The redhead didn't speak during the meal. She hadn't ordered anything herself, so she didn't eat, either. All she did, in fact, was sip on her coffee and watch Shego with those intense green eyes.

As she settled back from her empty plate, Shego watched her back for a moment before the nervousness of the situation got the better of her.

"What?" she blurted out.

The woman grinned a little and raised an eyebrow. "What what?"

"Why did you stop me from… why did you stop me and ask me to come here with you?" She'd been about to admit to her aborted attempt at breaking and entering, but thought better of it.

"You were about to make a bad decision," she stated simply. "One that would have brought you much regret."

Shego snorted. "You sound like a fortune cookie."

The woman cracked a genuine smile at that. "I suppose I do, don't I?" She laughed lightly and some of Shego's nervousness faded. "I want to offer you a job."

The nervousness was back. Here it came. "Go on."

"I need you-" she began, but Shego's nerves had made her twitchy and she broke in right on top of her.

"I knew it! Look, I've still got some self respect left, lady, and there's no way-"

The woman rolled her eyes and broke in. "I need you to take on a teaching position."

That stopped Shego cold. All of her various emotions fled to be replaced with a healthy dose of confusion. "Teaching? Me? What could I possibly teach?"

"Well, I suppose training is more the word. As for what… well, you don't know it yet. Your task would be to go learn things and then teach someone for me."

Shego's mind whirled as she tried to piece together what the woman wanted. "What kind of things?"

The woman glanced around the empty diner and leaned forward a little. "Combat, stealth, tactics. Practical lessons would be best. In fact, if you just attack her on a regular basis and force her to keep up, that would work exceedingly well."

"Why would I… that's crazy!"

"Maybe."

Shego stared at the woman for a while, trying her best to read her. She wasn't the best reader of people, but she didn't detect any deceit. In fact, the woman seemed quite… intense.

"Who would I be teaching? For how long?"

"You've never heard of her, but I'll supply you the information once you have accepted. The job actually has two phases. For the first six years, I will supply you with a training aid that will show you many things, and you will travel the world, learning many other things that you will need to teach. Once that is complete, you will teach her until she can defeat you regularly. I would estimate four to five years should suffice."

Shego snorted. "Seriously? I'm not exactly a slouch now, and six years of training would make a huge difference. What's she going to be doing for the next six years while I learn this stuff?"

"She's going to be turning sixteen. She's only ten years old now." The woman smirked as Shego's jaw literally fell open.

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The two talked in the diner for a while more. Shego wanted to dismiss the woman as crazy, but when talk turned to money the numbers she quoted were astronomical. There was just something about her that wouldn't let Shego push her away. Whether it was the way she looked at her or the conviction in her voice was impossible to determine, but Shego eventually agreed.

Afterward, they left the diner and the woman, whose name Shego never did learn, hailed a cab to take them to an uptown hotel. Shego wouldn't have gone along, but she felt like her new employer would vanish in a second if she left her sight.

Inside the woman's room, she offered Shego a drink. Having had only the occasional encounter with alcohol and a rebellious streak a mile long, Shego immediately accepted a small scotch and the two talked about nothing for a while. The woman produced a piece of card stock with a few neatly printed numbers on it that she told Shego were bank account numbers that contained a few million dollars as a downpayment.

The concept of that much money boggled Shego's mind and she didn't even question the small device, about the size of her finger, that the lady produced. "This is all of the information you will need. It will function with any standard computer that has a USB port."

They talked a little more, and somehow the woman wound up crying. Shego, feeling good from the buzz she was having, comforted her and one thing lead to another, as they often do. Things got more and more hazy after that, but Shego remembered crying out in ecstasy as she had things done to her and did things to the woman that she'd never dreamed of doing. It was weird and so very right at the same time.

The last thing she remembered of the night was lying on the bed, thoroughly exhausted, with the woman running her fingers through Shego's hair. "I'm sorry, She-she, I shouldn't have… but one last time before I'm gone is all I could ask," the woman said in a voice choked with emotion and little more than a whisper.

Then she'd fallen asleep and in the morning, the woman was gone. Aside from two hotel glasses with some murky water and lipstick marks, a thoroughly sexed bed, the USB device, and a small slip of paper with three bank account numbers on it, there was no sign that the woman had even existed.

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Author's Notes: I think you can see what I did there.