Disclaimer: Kim Possible belongs to Disney. This is a work for fun, not profit. A fan fiction by Alcandre and Six-string Samurai. Lingering.
Behold the dark the star rising. The seas shall tremble, the land quake; fear not the great eye of the heavens, for it beholds all true servants, they who shall be spared the doom of man.
Chapter 4 (part 1 of 2)
The morning brought with it a new day, and sometimes that was enough. Shego lifted her head from where she'd been resting atop her paws down by the redhead's feet. Sleep had been fitful at best, but then again she hadn't been the only one tossing and turning all night long. Some consolation, she rubbed idly at her nose. But, even she felt a little bit better about the whole, situation. Just the fact that she wasn't Ripley anymore, lifted a bit of weight from her shoulders, something she hadn't really been paying a lot of attention to.
Yes, with things out in the open, it felt as if there was that much more breathing room. The two of them had both said their apologies, well more so in the redhead's case. For her part, Shego was determined to do something tangible to get her point across. There had to be a way that didn't involve magnets and cat food. Convenient as they were, it felt like using text messaging, merely empty words with no substance.
She wasn't sure just how long she lay there, watching the morning light begin to creep across the floor, while Kim slept, though it felt like both a few minutes, and a lifetime. As the lump on the bed began to rouse itself, Shego flexed her paws and worked in a good back stretch, just the thing to get her blood pumping. Before this, she hadn't really ever thought about just how good cats had it. There was truly something to be said for a nice day of lazing about.
Kim's eyes opened and she stared at the wall beside her bed. She was tired, exhausted really. Her sleep hadn't been restful and the thoughts that had haunted her in her sleep continued to roll around in her head now that she was awake. She was off today and didn't have classes. If there was any day that was too perfect to call Wade, it was today. But oh how she dreaded it. Still, she couldn't postpone the inevitable forever, no matter how much she might wish things were otherwise.
The almost inaudible sound of cat feet on her comforter alerted her to Shego moving around. Peeking out over the covers that hid half her face, she saw said cat walking closer to her, green eyes unwavering and steely determination clear. With a sigh, Kim sat up and ran a hand through her hair. She glanced at the clock, it read just after eight. She then looked back at Shego, who was now sitting beside her, still watching intently without blinking, or so it felt.
"I get it. I'll call Wade," Kim said softly. "But let's eat breakfast first. There's no telling how long it'll take with him." She went to pet Shego but then pulled her hand back, unsure if the villain turned cat would like to be pet. It was different when Kim didn't know any better but now, well, now was a different story. And if the glare Shego was sending her way had any indication, the cat had noticed her near slip.
"Look," the young woman said as she pulled her legs out from under the covers. "I need to say one more thing about this whole sitch." She fixed Shego with a look before she continued. "It may be a little hard to not treat you like a cat for a while. So please don't get offended if I pet you or pick you up." She stood up and stretched. "And don't scratch me because of that either. Just give me a little time to get used to it."
And with that said, Kim walked out of the room. She'd said her piece, and that was that. But, the redhead found her thoughts dwelling on it regardless. Things were so ill-defined, and it didn't help that she was still caught up between a job and furthering her education. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. It bordered on frustrating, though she would deal. There was little other option left to her. Not unless she wanted to spiral down into depression. Decidedly not attractive, she mused wryly.
But, even that was only a partial truth. Plenty had changed, and it was slowly compounding, taking a bigger toll each time she thought she was getting to Shego, it was hard to tell where she stood. While surprisingly several expressions and moods were readable even through the thief's feline exterior, far too many were not. So much rode on unspoken body language, and Kim found a great divide between Shego's current and former existences. Cats were hard to read in the first place, fickle to the core. The intelligence behind those eyes only seemed to compound the issue, creating new tangles.
Somewhere along the way, the dynamics between the both of them had begun to change, and it felt like she'd missed the boat with this, the carefully scripted status quo that had existed for the onetime hero and the comet powered woman, had been all but rewritten. So much so, that the cat Shego had become was taking up more and more of her waking moments.
What were they now? College student and pet, roommates, or something that wasn't quite quantifiable? There had to be a way to come to proper terms with all of this. One step at a time, the redhead told herself. This wasn't a race, or something she could get by on sheer determination alone. Time and effort was the key, and she had plenty to spare these days.
As Kim mused, she began cooking breakfast for the both of them. It was fast becoming a ritual, needing little attention and freeing her up to wrack her brain for excuses not to deal with Wade. Almost anything at all was preferable, regardless of what she'd said to Shego, and so much else seemed to warrant her attention. So caught up was she, that the sleek form padding into the kitchen went unnoticed, that is, she didn't notice until a set of sharp teeth met her leg.
"Ow," she muttered as she looked down to see Shego glaring up at her. The redhead glanced at her leg, pleased to see that there wasn't any blood but she looked back at the cat with narrowed eyes. "Hey, that doesn't exactly feel nice you know, if you need my attention you could have done it another way." Kim rubbed absently where she'd been nipped. Shego just seemed to huff, paying the complaint little mind, and stalked off, ears twitching with what Kim could only guess to be irritation. All the more evidence that a solution needed to be found, if only for peace of mind, and the continued safety of the soft skin around her ankles.
Breakfast was a silent affair. Kim ate at the table and finally relented to letting Shego join her, using the logic that the cat wasn't really a cat and had very human thoughts. And these human thoughts were probably telling Shego that it wasn't dignified to eat on the floor. After Shego ate her last bite she looked over at Kim with a look in her eye that conveyed everything that she wanted to say. Call Wade. Call him.
Kim sighed and slowly got up, leaving her glass and plate on the table. "Fine," she said. "Here goes." The Kimmunicator was back in her pocket, where it had been every day for years on end. Even now, after two years, it didn't feel any different. In fact, she felt more herself than she had in a long time. One press of a button was all it took for the call to be on its way. There was all the time in the world to reconsider; she could still not go through with this. She could end the call now. He hadn't answered yet-
No, she thought, determination furrowing her brow. I'm Kim Possible. I can do anything. And I can definitely apologize for over-reacting, what was that when compared to saving the world a dozen times over?
"Kim?" A familiar voice, both dreaded and strangely welcome to her ear, brought her back and her eye was drawn to the image on the screen. Wade.
He was there, in his room from what she could see. For a moment, time rewound back to that day, two years passing in an instant. The old Wade was there, cherubic face almost filling the frame. But no, that wasn't it at all she realized. The past was past. It was clear enough that time had done its work on the boy. For one, he looked less the young boy she recalled, and more the young man he was clearly becoming, and thinner. So much so that it took a little longer to register. In fact, he looked good, healthier. It only served to reinforce the obvious changes.
She swallowed, throat suddenly much drier, "Hey, Wade." It was lame, she knew, but he'd caught her off-guard.
"Kim!" he exclaimed. "Wow, it's really you! How are you?" There was a clearly undisguised thrum of excitement in his voice.
Kim blinked and nodded, now more than a little off balance. This wasn't starting off the way she'd run through her head so many times. "I'm okay," she answered. "And you?"
"I'm alright, getting by. I've got a great job with GJ now and it is totally sweet! They let me work from home most days but I do have to stop by the office every now and then." Wade's dark complexion was gleaming with happiness, almost like they'd never stopped speaking to each other.
To say that it was odd would've been an understatement coming from anyone else. Truly, for the first time in a while, Kim didn't know what to say. But she did understand what she had to do. If Wade could put what had happened behind him, and he clearly had, then she owed it to the both of them to put one foot in front of the other and do the same. She'd already taken the first step, and if she stopped now, things would remain as they were for her, stagnant, tangled in a past she couldn't leave behind.
He seemed genuinely pleased to hear from her. But she could see a certain realization dawning. And that brought tears to her eyes. "Wade,I-" she started, the crack in her voice betraying the depth of emotion welling up in her chest. Two words burning on her tongue, ones that she couldn't just spit out, she had to mean it for this to be worth anything. Something in her face must have betrayed her resolve, because Wade lost much of his smile, faltering just before it was replaced with concern.
"Kim," he said softly. "Look, don't worry about it."
So, it was that obvious, she thought wryly, not even feeling the need to chastise her own self. Still, the clarity of mind that Wade possessed startled her, though it probably shouldn't have. "Wh-what," she asked.
Wade gave a grin filled with regret. "I get it you know, what happened that day," he said, closing his eyes. "I betrayed the trust of a great friend. Not only that, but this great friend was going through some nasty shit at the time. You didn't need a peeping tom on top of all of that. I'm really sorry. I probably can't say that enough to fix anything, but for what it's worth, I truly am, sorry," he drooped a bit at that, seeming to fold in on himself just a bit.
"But I totally flew off the handle at you!" she exclaimed. This wasn't what she'd expected at all, though she believed the sincerity in his apology. But this was completely backwards from what was supposed to be happening here.
"It was justified!" Wade's voice rose a little.
It was all too easy to meet heat with heat. Almost a gut reaction on her part, but she choked it down. That was one game she absolutely didn't want to play, not right now. He'd been nothing more than a kid at the time, Kim knew that in her heart, had known it long ago. That wasn't what had been truly eating away at her all this time. It was her lack of self back then, a misdirected sense of betrayal that had all but disappeared over time. The anger she'd been feeling at Wade, belonged closer to home. But, there had been a breach of trust, and for that she would accept his apology.
"Wade," she called out, forcing her own voice to remain level. It was hard, but she couldn't get past this if they started arguing. "Please, let me start over."
The young man on the other end of the Kimmunicator looked as if he begged to differ, but thought better of it in the end, lowering the hand he'd raised to start making a point. "Okay, But-," he started to speak and the beginnings of a glare from the redhead cut him off.
"Wade! Damn it let me apologize!"
That shut the young man up, his eyes wide with shock and his mouth hanging open.
Kim gave a smirk and nodded. "That's better. Now, I'm sorry for how I reacted back then. I should have listened to you, forgiven you, and moved on. But it was just so much at once. First it was my dad, me deciding not to go to college, and then that. That's not an excuse, just how things were. I shouldn't have blown up at you. I shouldn't have cut you out of my life like that. And I am so sorry," the edges of her vision blurred a little, and she squeezed them shut for a moment to center herself. "But, that's my side of it. I fully accept your apology, if you can accept mine."
Wade sighed. "Kim, I don't think you have anything to apologize for but okay I accept your apology. You don't know how much it means to me that you've forgiven me, that you called. I wanted to, all this time, but well-I've really missed talking to you, even if it was mostly for work."
"I've-I've missed you, too, Wade." A certain sense of relief flooded the former teen hero, much stronger than she'd thought she'd feel. Yet, there was something else, a matter just as important to her, and perhaps more pressing than this sudden reunion. She hadn't forgotten, nevertheless, there was Shego, sitting off to one side, past the view of the Kimmunicator's screen camera. Kim didn't want to put a sour note in what was going better than she could have hoped for.
Then again, she wouldn't even be making this call if it weren't for a certain cat's incessant prodding. Kim actually owed this reunion to her sudden house guest, and if Wade could help, all the better, in theory.
For her part, Shego was doing her level best to get it across to the redhead that there was business at hand, now that she and the nerd had finished the whole kiss and make up routine. Frankly, it had sounded a bit too smoothed-over to the once and hopefully future woman. This cat body had plenty of perks, but it also happened to piss her off once too often for her liking. She'd only been playfully goading Kim along with the ankle nip, being very careful not to break the skin, and the redhead had blown up at her. In hindsight, she supposed she could have pawed at Kim's leg, but where was the fun in that? Boring, is what that was.
And, she didn't think for a minute that Kim hadn't been about to pet her. Hah, it wasn't like Shego really cared one way or the other, mostly since it felt like a really good deep tissue massage. One of the few perks she had right now, and Kimmie was getting all gun-shy about it. That was enough to paint a frown on Shego's mental image of herself. Sadly, her cat face translated it to bored and grumpy, neither of which conveyed her sentiments as she might have wished.
If there was one thing she didn't do well, it was throw herself a pity party. She'd play the hand she was dealt, and that was that. Not that it would stop her from allowing herself a bit of hope. Kimmie was her best bet. If she couldn't help, it severely limited her options. A lot of her former connections had gone sour over the years, and the few that remained were a hell of a lot less reliable than the redhead she was currently trying to stare a hole through. Get a damn move on Kimmie!
Author's Note: Unfortunately this is the final installment written by the two of us. My co-writer has bowed out from this joint project due to outside obligations. However, it will be continued one way or the other. Apologies for the hiatus, and please look forward to further chapters, dear readers. - Six-string Samurai