HARSH

Okay, it's been soooo long! I've decided the only way I'm going to finish this puppy is to repost it chapter by chapter and push myself in a corner. See, a little backstory here: last year was one of the worst years of my life. Lost several family members. I think that's where HARSH and WHEN MADNESS COMES came from -- me picking on poor Drakken as a way of getting my own black emotions out. Hey, it worked. But now I realize I moved forward before finishing HARSH, and that's why it's been so hard to complete it -- I'm in a better mindset now. But still, I want to see this story finished. So once again, I'll work on it! In the meantime I'll repost the next chapter every day or so to let everybody remember what the heck is was about in the first place. Hope old and new readers enjoy!

This story takes place after the Diablo incident. Season Four doesn't exist here (except for a couple cheats here and there).

Chapter 1: Spaghetti Sauce

Time: 2 weeks after the Li'l Diablo fiasco

Prison. Again. Barf-inducing "food," ugly orange prison uniforms, thin blankets, rotten neighbors, no privacy….

Hell on wheels on a downward slope.

Dr. Drakken sighed. Poor widdle OJ Simpson, he thought, hoping that the prison guards would give the ex-sports pro and bad actor the same level of vindictively intrusive body cavity search that he himself had had to endure. Ah, one could only hope...

Well, at least this time he wasn't sharing a cell with chatterbox Frugal Lucre—though the man had proven helpful during the Smarty Mart stockbot fiasco. So close! I always get soooo close! But no banana. Damn Kim Possible. Damn Roy…no, Rob…no…oh, whatever his name is!

Drakken snickered evilly. The blond-haired do-gooder had forced him to remember his name at the horrible end of the Lil Diablo plot, but Drakken had forgotten the boy's name again just as quickly. It wasn't that he couldn't remember it. He just didn't want to bother. It pissed the boy off so much, which was always a delight. And the bottom line was, Drakken really truly sincerely didn't care. Kim Possible was the real problem in his life, not her adoring sidekick buffoon.

Though the buffoon did seem to have a talent for wrecking his schemes by finding destruct buttons and ruining not only his plans, but often his lairs as well. Him and that creepy naked weasel thing that actually lived in his pocket.

No wonder the buffoon smelled like overripe fruit.

But let us be truthful here, Drakken reminded himself. The buffoon wouldn't be in the do-goody business at all if it weren't for the cheerleader. The two were in love, smoochy smooch. It made Drakken want to vomit almost as much as the prison food. Yes, Rod What's-His-Name had his annoying talents, but he was only a heroic nusiance because of Kim I-Want-To-Strangle-Her-With-My-Bear-Hands-Until-She-Turns-As-Blue-As-I-Am Possible.

Oh well, nothing to do but pass the time seething with deep hatred. It was soothing, in an unexpectedly odd psychotic way. Besides, things would change. They always did. He always got out, and he always had another plan in the works. No matter what happened to him, Dr. Drakken was not one to give up. Ever. End of sentence. Period.

So he paced his cell, waiting for the clock to strike two, the time when he and his fellow cell block inmates could go out into the courtyard and see the sky. Right now, Drakken's world was grey. Grey floor, grey walls, grey ceiling, no window. He was in some hellhole in Colorado, but strangely, he was in a cell alone, which puzzled him. Usually the prisons were so full they had to stuff at least two men in a cell just to accommodate everybody. Yet here he was, alone "in the Honeymoon Suite without a groom," as he'd once heard it referred to. He didn't like the implication of that and visibly trembled, feeling for a moment as if spiders were crawling over his skin. He hoped with all his heart that when he did get a cellmate it wouldn't be some big dunce who sucked his pillow in his sleep and said things like, "Ah miss mah gun."

He flopped onto his bunk and pulled a book out from under his pillow. "Dave Barry Does Japan." A journal written by America's premiere humor columnist about his visit to Japan. Hilarious stuff, actually, though Drakken would have preferred a book on robotics or a National Geographic. Hell, he'd have tolerated an issue of Pre-Pube Heart-Throbs at this point—in his earlier researches on Kim Possible, he'd actually bought the magazine and found the articles hilarious. But he was forced to pick and choose from whatever ancient reading material the jail chose to make available. Laughing about bizarre Japanese social customs was better than "Old Yeller" or the novelization of "Star Trek 3: Search for Spock," both of which had actually been on the library cart this morning. When he'd seen the selection, he'd actually blurted out, "Good god!" in disgust.

"Hey, Lipsky!" came a gruff voice down the cell block. "Got a surprise for ya on the courtyard! See ya there!"

"Oh, shove it down your blowhole, Klein!" Drakken shouted back.

"You better be nice while you got the chance, blue boy!"

Drakken growled. He usually did pretty well in prison, as long as he kept his mouth shut and kept within easy running distance to the guards. But this place was giving him the creeps. He kept getting these weird threats, several from Klein, a general troublemaker, one from a rapist named Holy—Drakken didn't even want to ask what that nickname signified—though nothing yet had happened.

Worse, nobody told him anything. For instance, he'd asked about Shego several times, but prison officials refused to tell him where she had been taken. When the two villains had been captured by Possible and the buffoon after the Diablo blowup, the police had arrived and put them in a van together. But after a mile or two, that van had stopped and the two villains had been promply hauled out and shoved into two separate reinfored vehicles waiting by the side of a dark road. They'd hardly had time to yell goodbye to each other before the new cars had sped them off into opposite directions.

Too bad Shego's powers were impaired, Drakken thought. After Kim had thrown Shego into the tower, Shego's Go Team Glow had vanished—overloaded or something, he figured. Yes, her fingertips had started to glow in the van, a sure sign that the power was slowly returning. It just hadn't returned fast enough to do them any good when they'd had such an easy chance to escape.

Drakken found himself thinking of Shego's hair. Her lovely hair, how it cascaded down her back like a beautiful black waterfall, how it hugged her shoulders like a silken shawl, how it shone with those haunting green highlights that turned her into a mysterious other-worldly goddess. And how it had, thanks to Kim Possible and one large electrical tower, ended up looking like the abandoned nest of a psychotic marmoset.

That had been two weeks ago. Drakken presumed that Shego had either fixed the damaged hair by now—unlikely—or had it trimmed off—more probable, especially in a women's prison where insults to her hair would make Shego light up like a green nuclear power plant, hand restraints or no hand restraints. Shego with short hair, he thought, and shuddered. Life can be so unfair.

The prison bell rang and the door to Drakken's cell, along with all the others on his block, slid open with clangs so loud it made Drakken deaf for a moment. Guards appeared and herded the thirty or so inmates out into the courtyard for their daily two hours of sunlight and exercise.

Drakken stepped out onto the courtyard and sighed with a mixture of pleasure and annoyance. It was wonderful to feel the sun, but he hated prison courtyards. They were all the same. Worse than any school playground, inmates would clump together into cliques that invariably hated each other—all except for him, of course. When it came to cliques, Drew Theordore P. Lipsky was always the outsider, shunned and hated by not one particular clique or another, but by everybody. He was now and ever had been his own lonely clique. He'd never understood why. It wasn't his blue skin—peers had ragged him long before the whack experiment that had tinted his skin the color of an Easter egg. And despite Shego spreading nasty rumors to the contrary, he was quite hygienic and did not have bad breath. Freaky pheremones? Bad aura? Repulsive psycic vibes? He had no idea, and it bothered him. Always had. Probably always would.

Still, when it came to being in prison, he didn't mind so much. He was glad he wasn't associated with any particular group. Fights often broke out among them, or if they didn't, dangerous injuries were mutually exchanged in the ever-mysterious—at least, to Drakken—need for men to prove their manhood by cruelly taking injury with no outward sign of the pain it caused. They would merrily give each other cigarette burns to see who would flinch first, or even break fingers to see who wouldn't scream.

Macho schmacho, Drakken thought. Pffft. At least I don't have to deal with that nonsense. Of course, he had a few prison tats—those were unavoidable. And he rather liked the one on his left bicep, a green bolt of lightning with a blue outline. That kind of pain, well—he'd hurt himself worse by awkwardly running into doorways in his own lair.

But all in all, Drakken had no interest in proving to anyone his abilities to withstand pain. He'd lived with Shego, hadn't he? And he had the scars to prove it. Her green plasma blasts would send half these macho jokers running for their lives, while he always stood up to her when she was angry. Well, he stood up to her most of the time. Okay, sometimes. Once in a while? He frowned. Okay okay, he usually ran away. But those damned plasma blasts hurt! He consoled himself by thinking that, had he the tools at hand, he could build a simple stun device right here that would drop any of these goons to the ground, writhing in agony, until he chose to release them from torment.

That made him smile.

He was lost in that thought, still smiling that smile, when Klein approached, flanked by his thugs-of-the-day. Klein wasn't a particularly big man, but he has muscles and knew how to use them. "Lipsky," he said as if the name was some kind of curse word.

Drakken snapped out of his reverie. Crap. He glanced around, furious with himself for not having immediately placed himself near a guard like he usually did in the courtyard. If Klein really did have something in mind, he could be in trouble.

"I told you I had a surprise for you, Lipsky."

Drakken tried to play it cool. He wasn't so good at that and he knew it, but a man couldn't be a coward around here and live. So he drawled with as much sarcasm as he could muster, "The fact that someone with a negative IQ can exist is a surprise, all right, Klein—yet here you stand."

Klein frowned. "You'll be sorry you said that."

"I'm sorry already. I'd prefer not to talk to you at all."

Now Klein smiled. "Okay, smurf. Have your fun. But don't try to count to thirty. You won't make it." And he walked away, leaving the courtyard with his goons, probably off to work the weights to keep his goony muscles rippling just right.

Drakken's monobrow furrowed as he considered Klein's words. Count to thirty? Oh dear, what did that mean? He glanced around. Something was going to happen, but what?

Twenty-five seconds.

Drakken tensed. Nobody was near him. What was Klein up to? Drakken's first impulse was to head for the guard across the courtyard, but that would force him to pass a lot of inmates. One or more of them might be in league with Klein, and they might hit him or something. And some of them had extremely big fists. He didn't want to upchuck his lunch to a gut punch in front of everybody.

Twenty.

Nah, that couldn't be it. Klein wasn't stupid, but he was no grand mastermind either. If he didn't deliver a punch himself, what did he have to offer somebody else to do it for him?

Fifteen.

But what else could it be? Klein was gone, so he had to have a plan in place. He'd practically said as much. Drakken scanned the inmates in the courtyard, trying to remain calm.

Ten.

Some of the men were playing basketball. Most stood in groups, talking somberly. Nothing seemed amiss. The sun shone, the tenor of the courtyard was quiet. Normal. As far as Drakken could tell, anyway.

Five.

Drakken decided to go for the guard—and then it hit him. The only guard in sight was the one across the courtyard. There should be more, he thought. A lot more. Crap, I'm in trouble.

Still, he couldn't figure out what the trouble could be.

Four.

He didn't know what to do.

Three.

He wished Shego was there to protect him.

Two.

His heart began to race.

One.

A few men in random areas suddenly leaped on the inmate nearest them and began to pummel them. In seconds a full-scale riot was in progress. And like the Big Bang itself, the perimiter of the chaos expanded until Drakken was sucked in, with nowhere to go to avoid it.

Men jostled around him as the sirens began to shriek. Drakken ducked and dodged, just trying to get out of the melee in one piece. Fists swung, curses were hurled, everyone was completely out of control, and Drakken could figure out no reason for it. It was like the whole courtyard had suddenly gone mad. This simply shouldn't have happened. There was no inciting incident, no argument to start it all. And where were the goddamn guards?

Okay, so maybe Klein IS a mastermind, Drakken thought as he saw a fist swing at him and ducked. He didn't duck low enough though, and his head took a jolt as the fist skimmed across the top of his skull. Drakken staggered back but kept his footing, blinking at the sudden spots before his eyes.

Guards finally showed up and started beating men back with batons. When Drakken saw several with stun guns, he crouched down and wriggled backwards between fighting bodies, his arms protecting his head. Stun guns were worse than most people believed them to be. He'd suffered a zap or two himself, and they were agony. He had no desire to repeat the experience, so he tried to put as much distance between himself and the stun-gun-weilding guards as possible.

"Prisoners are to cease hostilities and line up against the main wall!" barked a voice of authority over the prison loudspeaker. "This is your first and only warning!"

Drakken was eager to get to that main wall and show that he had nothing to do with this insanity, but a biker called Dillon took a bull-fisted swing at him. He performed a surprisingly graceful twirl that took him out of the way of the fist but right into the beer belly of an enormous cretin named Earl who looked down at him with amused hatred. Eeeek! Drakken thought, and he squirmed away from Earl only to bump up against someone else, who purposefully shoved him into yet another man.

Drakken didn't know this man, but this man seemed to know him. "Surprise, blue balls," the man hissed. "This is from Klein"

All Drakken saw were the man's eyes—they sparkled with a black evil that made even Drakken creep out. And then he saw the fellow's right arm shoot forward, and there was pain, incredible deep pain, a sensation of ripping impact followed by a vicious twist of flesh. Drakken gasped, too surprised and confused to realize what had happened. His knees went weak and his vision went hazy.

The stranger chuckled and disappeared into the riot. Guards were shouting, inmates were howling, others screamed in righteous anger at their captors, and Drakken stared down in horror to see a knife sticking out of his gut. Not a make-shift shiv, but a shiny kitchen knife, the kind he liked to use to cut tomatoes when he made homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner with Shego at the lair.

Shit, was all he could think. He put his hands on the handle of the utensil, wondering why he was doing it. He certainly shouldn't pull the thing out—that might make him bleed to death. But he needed to touch it, to make sure that it was real and that it was now a part of him. An unwelcome part. He was no longer intact. His very being had been damaged. Something had invaded the flesh that was Dr. Drakken, and now his very life was leaking out.

Spaghetti sauce, he thought stupidly.

Amidst whistle blowing and shouting and screaming and the sound of fists against flesh, the mob dispersed around Drakken as he stood, stooped over, gawking helplessly down at the bright red blood quickly covering his corpse-blue hands and dripping to the pavement.

A guard ran to him and made it just in time—Drakken's knees gave out and the guard caught him as he fell, lowering him slowly to the concrete. "Medic!" the guard yelled.

Drakken's last thought was that he was lying in bed, home from school, telling his mother, "Mommy, I have a tummy ache." But a tummy ache had never made him scream before.

TBC