Chapter 23: Life After Death
Time: 10 Days Later
Dr. Director walked down the GJ hospital corridor, her mind in a whirl. With the capture of Sir and so many other high-profile criminals who had been working with him for years, she had her hands full. More than full—she hadn't slept in twenty-two hours. But she had one last duty to perform before she could go home and sleep.
She stopped at Room 13. The two guards stepped aside, knowing that no ID was required for this lady. Dr. Director paused at the door, hand on the knob, her mind skimming over the events of the past ten days.
She had been informed of Drakken's capture by Sir and what had transpired in the warehouse. The ambulance had taken Drakken to the GJ hospital where he underwent two operations, one for his abdominal injuries and later, one for his knee. The knee was so damaged that the operation had been performed merely to keep his leg together. Clearly he wouldn't be able to walk any better than he had before—and maybe now it would be worse. Only time would tell.
He had slipped into a brief and alarming state of psychosis when he first woke up in the hospital. Dr. Director had been reminded of his time at the GJ mental facility where he had stayed for nine months. The man had been a wreck then, too, disconnected and confused, unable to process any stimulus from the real world. She'd had doubts that he would ever regain enough faculties to function normally again. But as with his physical injuries, Drakken had slowly pulled through. His mind had clawed its way up from a deep pit to once again see daylight. And now he'd done it again, only this time, it had taken a mere two days.
Shego's presence had a lot to do with it, of course. Dr. Director had at first thought that the Drakken/Shego team was strictly business. But clearly Drakken needed the green villainess, not just for his work but for his mental stability. She was nasty, spiteful and mean, but she was as firm as a rock, and without that rock, Drakken could only flail helplessly on his own. Now that Dr. Director knew who his father was, she understood why.
What really surprised her was Shego's devotion to Drakken. Dr. Director would never have suspected in a thousand years that Shego had feelings for her evil employer. Drakken had thrown money at her every time he turned around, supposedly to keep her at his side, but now Dr. Director knew that Shego would have stayed with him regardless.
All in all, Betty Director still didn't especially like Drew Lipsky. To her, he was a despicable criminal who had terrorized the world, caused untold damage, and brought grief and anguish to almost everyone he came in contact with.
But god, he was stubborn. He simply never gave up. She'd never before seen anyone so determined to survive. That one fact made her respect him, in a way. And the events that had transpired over the last year—his attacks, his mental struggles, his discovery of the identity of his attacker and his response to it—it revealed a level of strength and dignity that she would never have believed he possessed. It didn't excuse his crimes, but it was astounding nonetheless. He once challenged me to stand in his place and do the right thing, she thought. Now...I really don't know if I could do what he's done.
It annoyed her no end to have to admit that.
With a sigh she opened the door of Room 13 and paused to take in the sight.
Drew Theodore P. Lipsky was propped up in a hospital bed, left leg in a cast, bandages wrapped around his chest and right arm, smaller bandages scattered here and there on the rest of his body, and dark purple bruises on most of the places where his skin did show. All in all, she thought he looked better than he deserved. Shego sat by his side dressed in stylish jeans and a pullover. Mrs. Lipsky sat on the other side of the bed, holding Drakken's hand. Kim and Ron were there, too, as well as Dr. James Possible.
"I knew it!" Dr. Possible was saying to Drakken. "Some of the components and programs that came from our so-called Off-site Staffer were...well, I should have known they were your work, Drew. Nobody could ever design a circuit board quite like you. And your programming—it makes no sense to me and yet the programs work!" He paused. "I would have seriously wondered if it was you, but I thought...you know..." He stopped awkwardly.
Drakken grinned. He was drugged to the gills with various medications, but the grin wasn't medicinally motivated. It was genuine. "You thought I was dead," he said slowly but clearly. "It's okay, James." He grew somber. "I'm just glad that Betty decided to tell you the truth, and that you...you came by to see me. Yours was the greatest friendship I ever had, you know. I'm glad that we could mend it."
"What about my friendship?" Shego asked dangerously.
Drakken batted his eyes at her. "You're not a friend, Shego. You're way past that."
"You bet your ass I am," Shego said smugly.
"You watch your language, young lady," Mama Lipsky reprimanded. "My grandchildren are not growing up in a house full of potty talk!"
"Mother!" Drakken said, his purple-bruised cheeks turning slightly pink. It was a bizarre combination of colors to see on a human face.
Kim chuckled, then turned to her father. "So Dad, you know that you can never ever EVER tell anybody that Drakken is alive, right? That might be a hard secret to keep."
"I think I'm up to it," Dr. Possible said. "And now I'll know what to expect when Off-site Staffer works on a project."
Everybody turned to see Dr. Director.
"Oh, it's that pretty lady who's in charge of all those nice secret agents!" said Mama Lipsky. "If I may say, you wear very impressive uniforms."
Dr. Director smiled. "Thank you." She turned her attention to Drakken. "I've spoken with...certain interested parties...and I have the final word." She saw Drakken visibly stiffen. She knew he was scared to death of what she was about to say. She opened her folder and scanned a few pages unnecessarily. She wanted him to sweat. Finally she said, "It is our recommendation that you be moved to another safe house to continue your work for GJ, the Space Center, and possibly additional government agencies. The new house will be substantially bigger than your previous one so as to make more room for equipment and work space." She noticed that Drakken hadn't relaxed yet. "As for Miss Shego..."
"Jail," Shego said morosely.
"That is one option," Dr. Director said. "The other option is that you occupy the same house as Mr. Lipsky."
Shego looked shocked. A huge grin blossomed on Drakken's face.
Mama Lipsky squealed. "I knew it! I knew it! My Drewby's getting married! Oh, I can't believe it! First I think my boy is dead, then I find out he isn't dead after all, and now he's getting married! Isn't that wonderful, everybody?"
Kim, Ron and Dr. Possible knew better than to say a word, but they all were trying not to grin.
"Whoa whoa whoa there!" Shego said, standing up. "What would I become, little miss housewifey? I don't think so!"
Drakken opened his mouth to speak, but Dr. Director held up her hand. "It is our recommendation that you, Shego, be assigned the task of training GJ agents in advanced hand-to-hand defensive and offensive fighting techniques, as well as teach practical classes in stealth, surveillance and infiltration."
Shego cocked her head. "You mean you'd let me outta the house?"
"With GJ escort, and only to designated GJ training sites. After time, maybe more. You're not considered dead, Shego, therefore your movements can be more flexible. But let me remind you—one escape attempt, one single use of your powers without express GJ permission, one wrong move of any kind, and you'll find yourself in a jail cell that has been specifically designed to withstand your powers. You will spend the rest of your life in solitary confinement, you will never see Drew again and—"
"Okay okay, I got it, geez." Shego sat back down. "So I'd be able to leave but Dr. D wouldn't?"
"I have my holographic imaging device," Drakken said. "I can still use that, can't I? Except I want to redesign the image. I hate walking around knowing that people think I'm fat."
Dr. Director smiled. "I'll have to clear any new image you have in mind, Drew, but yes, the same rules will apply to your movements as before. And as before, if you step out of line just once—"
"Yeah yeah, jail, blah blah," Drakken muttered. But he was smiling.
"Oh, my Drewby's getting married!" Mama Lipsky clapped her hands in delight. "Oh, I'm so excited! I can't wait to tell everybody on the bingo bus—"
Drakken's smile faded. "Mother," he said sternly, "please don't jump to conclusions. And I'm dead, remember? You can't tell anyone anything."
Mama Lipsky deflated like a balloon. "Oh." Then, "Not even Wanda Jean? I promise that she—"
"No one, Mother. No. One. Not Wanda Jean, not even Cousin Eddie." Drakken held his mother's gaze. "This is serious, Mother. Do you promise?"
"Oh, all right."
"And you won't pull that Oh just this once? little game you do?"
"...I won't." Mama Lipsky folded her arms and proceeded to pout.
"Well," Dr. Director said. "I'll go then. Drew, I'll get you pictures of the house as soon as I can." She started for the door, but Drakken stopped her.
"Before you go, Betty," he began, then paused. "I mean, Dr. Director..."
"What about my..." He caught himself, seemed to think for a moment, then pointed to his mother. "I mean, her..." Again he stopped. "I mean, what about...him?"
"Charles?" Mama Lipsky made the motion of spitting on the floor. "To hell with him!" she said venomously.
Everyone looked at her in surprise, especially Drakken. "Mother, talk about potty talk!"
Mama Lipsky waggled her finger at her son. "He is the one exception, Drewby. I would think you'd understand that now."
"Charles Lipsky," cut in Dr. Director, "is still in critical care at an undisclosed medical facility. He's physically quite frail, so that mysterious fall he suffered..." She glanced at Drakken. "...injured his back, neck, and especially his jaw."
Drakken fidgeted. "Oh."
"I hope he's paralyzed," said Mama Lipsky, and she repeated her motion of spitting on the floor.
Drakken held up a finger, drawing Dr. Director's attention once more. "And as to the, uh, circumstances of his mysterious fall?"
"There's no evidence to indicate how the fall occurred," said Dr. Director smoothly. "And since he is, without doubt, mentally unstable—"
"Inhuman, more like," Mama Lipsky huffed.
"—any charges he might make will be highly questionable."
"Oh, look at the time! I guess we should go now!" Dr. Possible took his daughter's hand and headed a little too briskly for the door.
"Come on, Ron," Kim said, clearly amused by her dad's sudden need to leave.
"Thank you again, James!" Drakken called as they left.
"Yeah, hope we can meet again at some point!" Dr. Possible answered.
Drakken chuckled. "Poor James. He was always such a prude about eavesdropping on private conversations—even when those conversations weren't really so private!"
"Oh no, this isn't private at all," snarked Shego. "We're just talking about the rest of our lives here!"
Drakken looked at her. "So then let's talk. You will stay with me, won't you?" A hint of worry crept into his voice. "I mean...won't you?"
Dr. Director quietly slipped out the door as Shego lifted her chin haughtily. "Was that supposed to be a proposal?"
A tiny smile of relief and joy formed on Drakken's face. "Um...right. Okay. I'll rephrase." He took her hand in his. Actually, he intended to sandwich her hand in both of his, but his mother wouldn't let go of his right hand. He rolled his eyes in exasperation, then let the annoyance go. This was no time to be annoyed.
He gazed into Shego's eyes. "Shego, my love, my sweet, will you stay with me in some yet-to-be-determined hovel where we'll enjoy very little privacy...well, hopefully enough to...you know..."
"...and teach fighting classes while I do lab stuff and not go out very often but hopefully often enough that we both don't go stir crazy? Oh, and wear two matching wedding rings?"
Shego glanced at Mama Lipsky, the only one left in the room with them. The woman was gazing at her son with eyes so filled with gushy love that she'd make a Cuddle Buddy collector look like a supervillain. Which I won't be anymore, she thought. She would miss it, no doubt about it. But Shego had had enough time to think it over. A whole year in fact. And that year without Drakken had shown her that she couldn't live without him. Not happily, anyway.
"Yes," she said.
Drakken feigned shock. "That's it? You get a whopping proposal like that and it's just yes and you're done?"
Shego smirked at him. "Whaddaya want, fireworks?"
At that, Drakken slowly licked his lips. "Mother, could you go out and get me a Snickers bar from the machines? I'd really appreciate it."
"Sure thing, honey," said Mama Lipsky, getting up in a happy trance and practically floating to the door.
Once she was gone, Drakken turned back to Shego. "You know what I want."
Shego smiled, got up out of her chair, leaned over Drakken's bed and gave him the deepest, sexiest, most love-filled kiss a man in a hospital had ever received. They were still at it when Dr. Director opened the door. "Oh not again," she sighed.
Shego quickly sat down, wiping her mouth. "Sorry."
"Just make sure that me busting in on you two lip-locked doesn't become a habit," Dr. Director said in the most authoritative voice she could muster. What she really wanted to do was laugh her head off, but that wasn't an option. "I forgot to tell you something," she continued sternly.
Both Drakken and Shego tensed.
"Drew, I have made a decision concerning your knee."
His lips still tingling from Shego's mind-numbing kiss, Drakken just stared in confusion. "My whuh?"
"Global Justice will pay for knee replacement surgery. If successful, you should regain nearly full use of your leg again."
Drakken's face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Really?"
Dr. Director paused. "Let's get you out of the hospital and settled in the new safe house first, shall we?"
Dr. Director left. The room fell silent. Then Drakken asked, "Do you believe in happy endings?"
Shego shrugged. "Not sure. Never had one."
Drakken turned to her. "I think we're having one right now."
"And just how can we know that for sure?"
Drakken thought about it, then declared, "Because we're due."
Shego looked at her future husband for a moment, his goofy grin, his battered but healing body, his dark eyes that were so lit up with love that it made her breath hitch in her throat.
A happy ending? Them?
Maybe it was possible.
She leaned over and kissed him again.
Thank you to everybody who stuck with this story, especially when it disappeared for so long. But I am pleased to announce (not like you don't already know) that this sucker is DONE! It was fun and amazingly therapeutic to write, and I hope everybody likes how it all wrapped up. I have appreciated all the enthusiastic reviews, so thank you for those, too. They kept me going!
I'm turning to my comedy now, which is a much shorter piece entitled "A Day in the Head of Drew Lipsky." It's almost halfway done and extremely silly. I'm having hoots writing it.
For those of you who haven't read my other D/S story "When Madness Comes," give it a read. Yay, depression!
And visit my new profile page. I FINALLY updated it, woohoo!