Written By: Myself
Editor/Muse/Love of my life: Arcanix Soulstar (To whom I owe many thanks for practicing such incredible patience and devotion. Without him I would not have had the courage to accomplish any of this on my own!)
Author's Note: For those of you who are fans of the Freakazoid show will recognize a certain character. His role in this story is pivotal in tying both the Freakazoid and Kim Possible series together into my crossover fic "Integration", which takes place 9 years (give or take a few months) after the beginning of "Drakken's Memoir". The memoir serves a purpose to not only tell the tale from Drakken's perspective but as a means of deepening the plot.
"Beautiful When She's Angry"
I never imagined the day when I'd admit my feelings for her or that they'd gone far beyond a normal professional relationship. Normally the drugs were the easiest thing to blame for my outward display, but several days spent on the brink of death seemed like a more logical explanation. It's funny how confronting one's own mortality can profoundly change a man's outlook on life…
Despite my sudden 'awakening', that didn't mean anything else had changed except for my whole "save the world from an alien invasion". (I'll spare that story for another entry).
If only I'd taken the time to prepare myself… But when did I ever have the time? The proposal was more of an impulse. Driven by years of unrequited love rushing out of me like a tidal wave, the words spilled past my lips faster than my doubts had time to squelch them. I wanted her to stay with me because I couldn't bear the thought of waking up to find her gone again.
The blow of her rejection was like a kick to the groin and though the look on her face might've meant any number of things, my heart began to break. I should have known it would happen. After all, she's the sort who wouldn't dare give any man the time of day other than when it served her own benefit. It was beneath her to accept such random proposals, especially from the likes of me. Heavens, the only reason I gather she put up with me for so long was because I paid her. Needless to say, I never had time to fully gauge her response.
Once I regained consciousness, I realized the room had gone dark and I was also alone. I raised my head stiffly from the pillow to look around me but Shego was nowhere to be found. After a moment or two, I returned to my former position and faced a wall of black drapes concealing what appeared to be a large doorway. 'How long has it been this time?' I wondered, rubbing the sleep from eyes. I stopped and held my hands away from my face, recalling the faint memory of my scuffle with Shego. I flexed my fingers, noting that there wasn't a single blister or blemish to be seen. Had I dreamt it or had I been under so long that they had already healed?
I rolled onto my back, no longer comfortable on my right side and lay staring up at the canting wood-studded ceiling. I strained to listen for the usual croak and trill of nocturnal fauna but heard nothing. The silence would have been deafening if not for the annoying staccato of the heart monitor. At the corner of my vision I observed that the morphine drip appeared to have run dry, which explained my state of renewed awareness.
'What time is it?' I inspected the bed side table for a clue but there was nothing there but a variety of medical monitoring devices, none of which gave any allusion as to the time of day. Frustrated, I scanned the pale walls and couldn't even find a blasted wall clock! What is it with ordinary people and their infuriating ignorance for proper timekeeping? I for one can't stand not having some sort of timepiece within sight at all times!
I rose reluctantly from the sheets only to have my bladder give a sharp warning spasm. Damn, how long had it been? I hoped to have the strength to drag my sorry carcass out of bed to find the loo.
"Sh-Shego?" I croaked, hoping that she was within ear shot. No such luck.
Somehow I managed to get out of bed and remove the IV but in my hurry I forgot about the heart monitor. Halfway across the room the clamp slipped off my finger, shattering the silence with an ear splitting flat line alarm. I ignored it and shuffled slowly across the hardwood floor to my door, grasping the frame to steady myself.
A light from another room flared unexpectedly and a man in rumpled blue plaid flannel pajamas and a dark robe stumbled into the hall. "Ach! Mein gott!" he exclaimed, nearly colliding with me in his rush.
I stared at him quietly, my drug hazed mind failing to provide any clues to his identity. He had the look of a scientist well in his sixties, partially bald on top with an untamable crown of gray hair. He was thin, not too tall, nearly as tall as my own height of 5'10". A smile tugged at my mouth; His goatee reminded me of Dr. Thaddeus' from the Venture Brothers cartoon.
He placed a hand upon my shoulder, breaking my concentration. "Drakken?" he said in a distinctly German accent, "Are you alright?"
I shrank away from his touch, suddenly angry, "Who the hell are you?"
"I am Professor Roland Heiney, your doctor," he said and offered his hand in greeting.
I scowled, not bothering to reciprocate, "I don't have a doctor."
"Vell, the evidence of my having treated you for ze past three veeks vould decidedly contradict your claim."
"Right…" My eyes narrowed, curious as to the reason for my henchwoman's absence. "Where's Shego?"
"She's sleeping, of course."
"Oh?" I faltered a bit, "W-What time is it?"
"Nearly dawn. Vhy? Iz zere somesing ze matter vit you? I heard ze heart monitor alarm and it voke me." He leaned close to inspect my arm, squinting over the spectacles perched upon his bird-like nose, "Vhy haf you removed your I.V.? " He traced his fingers over the hollow of my arm, marveling at the thick cord of sensitive roots fanned beneath my skin. "It's healed," he murmured.
I shrugged him off, my patience already worn. "Will you stop touching me? I'm trying to find a bathroom for God's sake and I can't go anywhere with that blasted thing attached to me! Besides, it ran dry so I saw no point in keeping it on!"
The professor's thick brows shot up in surprise. "OH! I certainly understand ze emergency." He motioned with a thumb over his shoulder, "It's just down ze hall, second door to your left. Just… put the seat down ven you are done. I learned zat ze very scary vay." He leaned in closely, a haunted look on his face. "Very, very scary."
In the time it took me to complete my objective, the keening wail of the heart monitor had ceased and I found the professor waiting for me expectantly.
"So, what kind of name is 'Heiney' anyway?"
"Vat sort of name iz Drew Theodore P. Lipsky?" he countered.
"What may I call you zen?" he asked.
"Drakken, Dee, or Doctor but never Drew - only mother calls me that. …And you?"
"Professor, Roland, it doesn't matter. There's no need for formalities." He removed his glasses, cleaning them on the hem of his night shirt before returning them to their perch. "It seems fate did not bestow us vit the best of given names… Such iz ze privilege of our Jewish heritage, ja?"
I regarded him incredulously, "By the sounds of your accent, I would've thought you to be German or Austrian."
"That's not far from ze truth. I vas born in Borków, Poland unt lived zere till ze var broke out; I did a lot of traveling in zose days… I later lived vit relatives in Austria till I came of age. I currently own a specialized research facility in Svitzerland." He paused, stifling a yawn, "Perhaps ve should spare such a serious discussion for later? It iz early unt I'm in great need of kaffee. Care for some?"
"YES," I said quickly, eager to change the subject.
The Professor started to pat my arm but quickly relinquished his hand, remembering my aversion to being touched. "Don't look so harried, young man, you haven't upset me. In fact, I find your curiosity refreshing. I am only just half awake unt cannot function vitout ein tasse kaffe to start my day… I'll be happy to share my life story vit you later." He strode down the hall with me close at his heels and flicked on a light switch I hadn't seen as he entered an expansive room.
"SHIT!" My arms flew up to cover my eyes, blinded by the flood of fluorescent light. "Warn me before you do that!"
"Ach, my apologies, Doctor… I forgot that it's been a vhile since your retinas haf been exposed to full light."
"Just take a moment to acclimate. In the mean time I'll get ze kaffee started."
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to open my eyes and was immediately taken by the spaciousness of the kitchen sharing an even bigger dining area. "Is this your place," I wondered aloud.
"Nein, this beach house belongs to your partner."
"Beach house? We're at the ocean?"
"Ja, Santa Barbara, California, to be exact. You vere unconscious ven ve brought you here so I'm not surprised you don't remember any of it. "
My curiosity piqued, I decided to explore my surroundings. The living room was vast, complete with a fire place, plush leather furniture, a satellite flat screen television and a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass. I ventured further, out through a double French door to a lanai surrounded by glass windbreaks. From there, I could gaze upon the panorama of the ocean turning lighter as the sun rose behind me from the East, like a dark, shifting blanket. I must've stood there a long time because when I finally blinked into awareness I knew I was no longer alone.
Not far from my side, Shego stood cradling a large, steaming coffee mug in both hands as though it were a priceless artifact. She took a cursory sip, peering at me over the edge of her cup. I hadn't heard her get up.
I pressed my forehead to the glass, the rich aroma of her coffee making my stomach growl, "I didn't know you had a place like this…"
"That's because I never told you."
"That's none of your business."
"Seriously, Shego. Why the attitude? I'm just trying to make conversation about your lovely home."
"Coffee first. Talk later," she said shortly, taking another sip.
"Fine," I spat and approached the sliding glass door. "If I'd known you'd be so snippy with me I would never have talked to you at all." I turned away in as best an approximation of stomping as a recently-revived invalid could muster. After about twenty paces across the soft sand, however, my formerly bedridden state caught up with me and I had to pause to catch my breath. I wheezed faintly, hunched over and grasping my knees.
The impromptu pause allowed me to realize that I could hear the approach of light footsteps gliding over the sand behind me. It figures that she would be more comfortable walking on the sand; it was her house, after all.
"Dee, wait," she called.
"Leave me alone!"
"Goddamnit Dee, just wait a minute!"
"You know," I began, breathless with fatigue. "I had a feeling someone else was treating me. No offence but based on our history together, I never took you for one who is well-practiced in the field of medicine."
She came to my side and ever so lightly grasped my hand. "None taken…"
I curled my fingers into her palm, righting my posture and faced her. "Oh?"
She looked up at me, her jade green eyes vibrant in the predawn. "When you first woke I didn't want you to go into a panic about a stranger knowing our location, let alone anything about your weird plant power. That's why I brought you here, instead of treating you at your lab."
"Mmm." I fingered a dark strand of hair that blew across her face, not really listening.
"…Considering how zonked out you've been, I figured, the less you knew, the better. I just didn't think you'd be up so soon." She blushed, suddenly noticing her proximity to me and took an awkward step back.
"Why did you come back for me?" I asked huskily, "I assumed you'd left for good."
She raised her head, her expression a mask of defiance. "I never said I quit. I came back when I planned to come back. I just never expected to find that you'd gone off the deep end like that!"
"…The deep end?" I queried, the moment destroyed. "What exactly are you insinuating?"
"At first I thought you were into that 'evil plants take over the world' scheme again," she scoffed, arms folded, "which was a total joke like most of your harebrained ideas."
I crossed my arms and regarded her caustically, "If I exist only to amuse you then perhaps you should leave. I don't need you making fun of everything I do and I'll have you know that my hypo pollinator mutagen was NOT a bad idea! I saved the fucking world with it for crying out loud!"
Her lip curled into a sneer. "Can the melodrama, Dr. D. I'm not making fun of the actual hypo-flower-power-serum-thing. It was the original plan for the stuff that stunk."
I opened my mouth to correct her terminology but the malicious glare she shot me silenced my retort.
"Now stop interrupting," she snapped, "…and let me finish!"
Grumbling irritably, I waited for her to continue, albeit impatiently.
"The lair was completely taken over with vines and flowers just like what happened at the Alpine lair before the invasion. It was hard finding you in that jungle but then all the sudden, there you were…" She faltered. "I thought you were dead."
"You haven't answered the question! WHY did you leave?"
"You irritate the shit out of me, like NOW!" she bellowed, "…and after that whole snafu at the U.N. and all the publicity and paparazzi, not to mention being threatened by Global Justice!" she flung up her arms to emphasize her tirade, "I just needed time away from it all, especially from your never-ending world domination drama!"
By some miracle I managed to control my temper and hissed through clenched teeth, "So you think my asking you to marry me was just an elaborate ruse to keep you in my services?"
All the color had drained from her face, sickly pale in contrast to the luscious mane of her raven hair. She stared, still as a statue, never once uttering a sound.
'…Serves her right for being so presumptuous.' I thought ruefully and turned away to calm my nerves though I continued to feel the tingle of her unblinking gaze on my back.
Minutes felt like hours in the silence that grew between us and the longer it lasted, the more it whittled away my courage. Yet by some miracle, I found my voice at last, "I-I realize that I hardly meet your standards but my offer stands."
She didn't answer, doing little to assuage my inner tempest of doubt. All the same I waited, hoping with every fiber of my being that my fears meant nothing, that all would be right in the end. I hung my head. I was well aware that I was getting myself into trouble by forcing her to open her heart, but the truth of the matter was that neither of us was getting any younger. I couldn't wait forever. I was desperate to know where we stood in our relationship and whether this was the point where we'd walk our separate ways. It wasn't her responsibility to take care of me – Her invaluable years of service and the countless times she'd saved my life hardly meant I was owed anything, especially when most of it was my fault to begin with.
I stared at my feet, recalling the faint memory of when she'd found me several weeks ago and how she'd cradled my face delicately in her hands. It wasn't that particular reason that compelled me to remember… It had been the tears, shining lucent on the mint pallor of her face. Except for that incident with the Moodulator a year before, I'd never seen her cry so openly, especially not for my sake. She looked vulnerable, even frightened. It stole my breath away, to see her so uncommonly unguarded. I meant to say something but the moment seemed hardly conducive for words. I hugged myself to embrace that moment, praying I'd never forget it if that was all I'd have left of her when whatever we were had ended.
It suddenly occurred to me that I should be worried when my fingertips touched the course length of a leafy vine dangling from my shoulder. It shuddered and came alive, tugging me back into reality and swaying in the tepid breeze. I shut my eyes, stifling the chatter of my teeth as the first cold wave of shivers wracked my body. The morphine had worn off long ago and I knew that meant the pain would soon return in full keel. Worse yet, the tremors wracking my frame were a sure sign that I was going into opiate withdrawal.
I jolted as if stricken, "Huh?"
Shego planted her hands upon her hips and huffed as though nothing had happened at all. "I was talking to you!"
I looked abashed and shook my head warily. "It seems my mind was elsewhere…"
"Apparently," she replied snappishly.
My body shuddered, the odd tingling in my neck giving way to the tickle of vigorous plant growth as drug-muted nerves awoke unabashed. I clenched my jaw to muffle an anguished cry when the first lance of pain flared at the small of my back, coiling low in my belly before trailing fire through my ribcage.
"Drakken…" her voice sounded distant through the roaring in my ears.
I cut her off with a dismissive wave of my hand. "Y-You don't have to answer," I stammered, sweating despite the morning chill. I drew a calm and shaky breath, the honey sweet scent of budding flowers permeating the air. 'Great, now I'm beginning to bloom as well.' As if on cue, a thick neck vine littered with pink blossoms and spaded leaves, swung into my view soon followed by the embarrassing flair of yellow petals crowning my head.
"Hey, are you okay?" she asked, straining not to laugh at the ridiculousness of my appearance.
"Only just," I moaned before pitching into the sand and laying there, panting heavily. It was as though my body had been doused in napalm, an addition to the biting grit of the sand like salt on an open wound. I dug at myself, fingers curled into claws as fine roots, encouraged by the sunlight, bubbled feverishly beneath my flesh and throughout my body.
"Dee…" She bent to grasp my shoulder to turn me over but recoiled as if burned when I gave a hideous scream.
Alerted by the commotion, I heard the professor emerge from the house, hailing to Shego.
"Roland…," she began then seemed to decide against waiting for him and knelt at my side.
The Professor dashed across the sand, the tail of his robe billowing in the stiff pacific breeze. "Don't touch him! Ze vines are too sensitive!" he cried.
I watched him reach into the pocket of his pajama pants, producing a hypodermic syringe he must've prepared beforehand. He uncapped the needle and held it up to inspect the dosage in the light, tapping the vial then expelling a small amount of fluid in a thin translucent stream.
My eyes widened. "N-No!" I shouted, vines thrashing like whips in my panic. "NO MORE -Gnh- HNGh-AHH!"
"Turn him over," the professor instructed. "I need to inject him in ze buttocks vhere he hazn't been contaminated vit dirt."
Shego forced me onto my stomach and reached to lower the hem of my boxers. "No more morphine," I repeated, bordering on hysterics. "NO MORE!" A massive vine bubbled from the center of my back and twined around her midsection, lifting her off of me and suspending her several feet in the air.
She kicked her legs, hands flaring with lethal energy and gripped the branch-like appendage with super human strength. "PUT ME DOWN OR SO HELP ME YOU'LL WISH YOU WERE ON MORPHINE WHEN I GET THROUGH WITH YOU!"
Feeling vindicated yet unable to restrain her any longer, I thrust her into the ocean without so much as an apology then curled into a fetal position and whimpered like a wounded animal.
Shego emerged from the waves dripping and positively radiant with fury, "I'M GONNA KILL YOU!"
"Please, Miss Go," the professor begged. "Do calm down! He vas only trying to defend himself! I must explain zat ve do not intend to harm him!" He held out his arms in an attempt to shield me from her rage, "Doctor Dee, I svere it izn't morphine. Zis is my own unique concoction to stave ze pain, reacting similarly to a sedative because it relaxes ze body. I had to alter it to a degree due to your unique physiology but I assure you it iz safe!"
Shego trudged to shore and stepped around him, wielding a glowing fist, "HE WON'T BE SAFE WHEN I GET THROUGH WITH HIM!"
"Use it if you insist," I wavered, "but if anything should go wrong there will be consequences."
The professor nodded, getting in the way when she made a lunge for me. "Miss Go, I urge you to mind your temper just zis once."
"SHUT UP ROLAND!"
My muscles bulged, rippling with the alien life that steadily began to overtake me like before. "L-liiiisten to him…." I ground out. "I've agreed to-HNgh!" A spasm ripped through me, "th-the injection. Ah-AFFFterward, you may DO-Ghngh- what you want with me…I already feel like SHHIT so I doubt there's much else short of death that could top it."
"Wanna bet?" she snarled.
With one hand, Roland started to remove his robe, "It isn't much but it'll dry you."
Her focus on him was immediate and piercing, "NO!"
He flinched at the force of her shout then without further argument or remorse she spun in a spray of sea water and stomped off to the house.
The professor knelt beside me, syringe still in hand and gave me a sidelong look. "I'm starting to remember vhy I never married."
My smile was faint, "Ahhh, but she's beautiful when she's angry." The familiar darkness of drugged unconsciousness welled up around me then, a welcome respite from my agony and suffering – both physical and otherwise.
To Be Continued…