Disclaimer; Kim Possible is Property of Disney. This is a work of fan fiction for fun, not profit. A tribute to a 'been-there-done-that' plot we all know and love. A simple story for these troubled times, by S3Cubed, aka Six-string Samurai. Let's get the show on the road.

A/N: AU, as is my wont. No crossover this time, so don't worry about trying to spot where I might have been pulling things from.

"The Trace Without"

A Prologue

Rooting around in the fridge turned up a half empty carton of Chinese take-out, two glasses worth of orange juice that may or may not have been expired, and a suspicious pizza box that was probably better left undisturbed. Blowing out a sigh, Shego turned her back on the slim pickings, pushing the door shut with a heel as she tried her luck in the cabinets over by the microwave. It didn't take long for her to realize that the last time she'd stocked up had been almost two weeks ago, just before Drakken had dragged her half-way around the world, getting the both of them lost and nearly killed in some god forsaken jungle.

They'd been back in the city for the better part of a day now, and it had taken her half that time to get him out of her hair. Just thinking about his grating voice, harping on and on for the entire flight back, if she wasn't under contract with the blue dolt, Shego might have put him out of her misery. As it was, she'd been so distracted trying to tune out his whining that she'd completely forgotten to pick herself up something for dinner on the way back to her apartment.

At this rate, she was either going to have to order out for something, or make a trip down to the corner store a few blocks away. Her eyes went to the front door, and more specifically to the few clumps of melting snow that she'd tracked in. "Screw that," she muttered under her breath. It was damn cold out there right now, even for her. Maybe if she still had her car, but no, Drakken had offered to make a few modifications to it, the perks of working for a mad scientist and self-proclaimed 'Evil Genius.' That had been just before they'd left on the little jungle cruise.

She just chalked it up as another mental tick-mark against her employer. The tally was getting pretty high and she'd only been around the man for two and a half years of the prescribed four on her work contract. In hindsight, four years was a long time to be stuck with someone that continued to stomp on your last nerve on nearly a daily basis. In fact, the only real bright side was her salary, and the medical and dental coverage.

Running a hand through her hair, she plopped down on her leather couch, reaching for the TV remote with one hand and digging around her pockets for her cell with the other. Delivery it was. The flat screen mounted on the wall flicked on, and she scrolled through a few channels absently, waiting for something to catch her eye as she thumbed through the contact list in her phone looking for the number to the Vietnamese place up the street. Hah! Shego hit the call button and put in an order, a large bowl of Pho sounded like it would hit the spot, considering the crappy weather.

Forty minutes and a hot shower later, the verdant hued woman tossed the empty soup container into the trash. One of the things she liked about that particular take-out place was their expediency, even on days like today. She was hard pressed to remember the last time they'd delivered to her later than within half an hour. It didn't hurt that the prices on the menu were a steal either.

Clicking through the movie channels, she finally found something she hadn't seen a million times, one of those sappy dramas about a crazy love triangle that probably wasn't going to be solved without one of the leads dying in the end. Not really her thing, but it was nice to see other people having a crappier life than hers once in a while.

Just as she was starting to get into the movie, the door bell rang. What the hell? Shego frowned, pressing the mute button on the TV remote. No one knew her well enough to stop by, and the few people she knew had no idea where she lived, which was just how she liked it. Not even her boss had her address. I know I tipped the delivery guy, and it's been a good fifteen minutes since he left anyway.

Making no move to get up, she waited to see if she'd just been hearing things. She let almost twenty seconds pass before reaching to un-mute the set, when as the bell rang again, loudly in the silent apartment.

"It better not be the damn landlord," she slid to her feet, growing more irritated the more she thought about the skinny little prick that owned the building. If anything, that was one man who continually managed to get on her bad side more than her boss. But, he was also the only person that would have any reason in her mind to be making a house call in this damnable weather.

The doorbell rang once more just as she flipped the bolt on the lock, yanking the door open. "This better be an emergency, because I already paid the damn ren--," Shego swallowed the rest of the words on her lips as she got a look at the person standing on the snow covered front stoop. Anything else she might have said died before the thoughts finished, and Shego took a faltering step backwards into her apartment as a dozen denials clawed at her mind. Green eyes that she'd almost forgotten locked on her own, as the shorter girl in front of her let herself in, following after the backward retreating Shego until the taller woman bumped into the couch and tripped.

With the gaze broken, Shego felt herself able to try and grasp the situation again, and she used the impromptu tumble to roll over to the other side of the couch and back onto her feet, keeping the piece of furniture between them. With the couch acting as a buffer, the green skinned woman found her mouth working again, "Alright, what the fuck are you trying to pull," she spat, anger overriding her confusion. "She's dead. I watched her get put in the ground myself! What kind of sick game are you playing at?"

Shego's knuckles paled even further as she gripped the back of the couch, digging into the leather cushion. She waited, the breath sticking in her chest, waiting for the redheaded phantasm in front of her eyes to break her silence. This whole situation was impossible. There were no ghosts, no second chances. Even if it was her, some things just couldn't be overcome. There was no coming back from that place, not even for Kim Possible.

The doppelganger's lips parted…