Epilogue: So the Drama.
By the time that she reached the lair, Shego was struggling to breathe, her vision bluured by tears. Her chest throbbed with angst and when she tried to get up from the cockpit, her knees buckled and she had to sit down again.
When she closed her eyes, all she could see was the devastated look on Kim Possible's face as she told her off.
"What have I done," she whispered, her breath coming in short, painful gasps, "what have I done, what have I done, what have I done?"
She closed her eyes and leaned forward, resting her head on her knees so that she could grip her hair and pull at it, hoping that the pain would distract her from the anguish in her chest but it didn't.
She didn't think that it would hurt this much.
Shego felt that she did what she had to do, not only for her own sake but for Kim's as well. She had figured that it would be best if she ended it now, before they both got sucked down into something neither of them could control the consequences of. It didn't make her feel any better and she wished that there was some other way she could've dealt with it but a clean break was the best for both of them.
Shego knew that if she had given Kim a scrap of hope that the relationship was possible, the teen hero would've grabbed it with both hands and held onto it. Every time they meet, every time they fight or confront each other, she would then have to deal with that hope and Shego knew that she wasn't strong enough.
She cared for Kim too much.
So this way, in her mind, was the only manner in which she could've resolved it. Kim would be hurt and for a few days or weeks it would be the focus of all the drama in her life, but then she would get over it and move on. People Kim's age worked that way when they realize in the brutal playing field of high school that a broken heart wasn't fatal.
She'd move on and maybe even be a little bit more cautious afterwards to whom she offered her heart so freely.
Closing her eyes to wipe away her tears, Shego finally found the strength to push herself up and return to her room, hoping that she wasn't going to meet Drakken along the way.
I did her a favour, Shego thought bitterly as she all but limped to her room. Loving me is the last thing she wants to do, I corrupt everything that I touch. Look at what happened to Teryl. She was a good person before she met me and my powers and my life twisted her. I can't let that happen to Kim, she's too much like me...
In her room now, Shego looked around and started to move towards her bed but she didn't make it. Instead, she sank down by her closet, overcome by a fresh wave of tears when she saw the small pandaroo waiting for her beside her bed, its gaze accusing.
Again, Shego found herself questioning her actions, wondering if she had done the right thing and knowing, with a bitter, cutting truth that she hadn't. Pushing her back against her closet, she wrapped her arms around her legs and sobbed again, feeling lonelier than she had ever done before in her life.
I just ruined what could've been the best part of me, she thought as she rocked herself. I have taken the only thing that might've been worthwhile and destroyed it.
The thought did not sit well.
Shego was so overcome by her grief that she didn't hear her door opening slowly. She didn't hear Drakken call her name softly but, when his arms finally wrapped around her, pulling her away from the wall and into his lap, she didn't protest.
Unable to comprehend how he could've known, she cried even harder when he started rocking her, whispering softly.
"It is for the best."
Normally she would've hated for him to see her like this, hated for him to comfort her like a little girl, but this time, she didn't care, the pain in her so vast that she needed his presence as a buffer.
They stayed there like that for a time incomprehensible until Shego finally felt the raw emptiness of her spent emotion. It was only then that she pushed herself away from her employer and looked at him, trying to read the emotions in his stoic face. He didn't say anything, pulling his arms away from her so that she could get up as she wanted to.
"Why?" Shego asked, not even fully understanding for what she was asking the question for.
"Because I need you and you need me," Drakken said simply, giving her a one shouldered shrug. "Because you cannot belong to both me and Kim Possible and survive. And because Shego, people like us are not meant to love. Why do you think I am alone?"
She snorted and wiped at her face, wishing that she could wash it to remove all traces of her crying.
"Because you're an idiot," she muttered and stood up but her heart wasn't in it. Sighing she looked around her room, the loneliness in her evaporating a little. "Why aren't you angry with me Dr. D? I thought that you'd be livid if I helped Kim Possible."
Drakken shrugged and pushed himself up like an old man. "I told you Shego," he said dryly. "What you do in your own time is up to you as long as it does not have a negative impact on me. I would've been somewhat negative about the whole scenario if you continued to see Kim Possible on a… social bases after this, but without a lot of encouragement from me, you've taken matters into your own hands and made the right decision as how to deal with it." He shrugged and moved to the door. "Besides, I might just be able to use this to my advantage."
Shego's stomach turned to ice as she watched her employer. Sometimes, he was smarter and more ruthless than she gave him credit for.
"How?" she queried but he smiled.
"You'll see soon enough," he said with a devious glint in his eyes before his gaze softened. "Do you need anything else Shego?"
Feeling drained, the young woman shook her head numbly.
"Right," Drakken said and turned his back on her. "Then, if you need me, I'll be in the synthodrone lab. Take it easy for a day or two Shego, we have a lot of work ahead of us. I trust that you will put all of this behind you now, I cannot afford to have you distracted."
When she blinked, she was alone in her room again, with Dr. Drakken's whistling a tuneless melody as he walked down the corridor.
Rubbing her brow to try and fend off a pending headache, Shego went over to her bed and sat down, looking at the Cuddle Buddy. She allowed her fingers to gently caress the pandaroo as she turned it over and over in her hands.
Then, finally – she closed her eyes and incinerated it.
She didn't remember how she had gotten home, her head numb and buzzing with what had just transpired.
Kimberlee Ann Possible stood outside her house in the predawn hours, looking at the front door with a sense of loss. She took a step towards it to open it, then paused and closed her eyes. Unable to find the strength to go inside, she sank down on their front porch and closed her eyes. She should've cried, screamed and shouted. She knew that she wanted to, but she could not make herself do anything.
What now? She thought as she tried to imagine how she was going to find the strength to go into the house and carry on with her life. What now?
She didn't have the answer because in truth she didn't even know what had just happened.
Shego, she thought silently. Shego why?
The woman had played her, taught her, saved her and destroyed her all in the span of a couple of days. Kim felt as if her very soul had been torn to shreds by the woman's words.
Is this what Teryl Adamson felt? Kim thought numbly as she leaned forward and hugged her knees, trying to ease out the tight feeling in her chest. Is this what had turned her? This empty sensation? I feel as if I'm freefalling with my back to the ground and I don't know when to pull my parachute…
The door opened behind her and with a soft sound of fabric shifting together, her mother sank down beside her.
"Kimmie?" She queried. "What are you doing outside love? Where have you been? I thought you were in your room sleeping."
Kim's parents were probably the only people in the world who wouldn't be surprised if she confessed to going to another country overnight.
Kim flinched when her mother's light hand brushed over her shoulders as she tried to give her a light hug, but stopped herself when she felt Kim shift away from her.
"What's wrong darling?"
Kim swallowed and pushed herself up to look at her mother and tell her that she was fine, but when she met the woman's gaze under their dim torch light, her throat constricted and the numb tightness in her chest throbbed. She blinked tears but quickly wiped them away but her mother already saw it.
The woman closed her eyes briefly and let out a soft breath.
"Have you come back from meeting Shego?" she queried softly, her voice holding a depth and understanding that cut the last of Kim's resolve.
Closing her eyes, she bit her lip to stop herself from sobbing and had to take several deep breaths to get herself under control. Without saying anything, she nodded numbly and her mother didn't seem at all surprised.
"What happened?" the woman asked softly, her hand tightening ever so slightly in Kim's back.
She didn't want to tell her mother, but they have always had such a comfortable, open relationship that lying to her didn't come naturally.
"She hurt me," Kim said before she could stop herself, immediately regretting it when she felt her mother freeze. She could feel the woman look at her quickly in order to establish that her wounds weren't physical, before she took a steadying breath and said softly.
"I'm sorry Kimmie."
Kim swallowed as her throat constricted with tears she couldn't make herself cry.
"Yeah. Well." She said softly. "I should've known better."
There was a long pause as her mother turned over her words.
"Sometimes Kimmie," she said softly. "We do things even though we feel that they are wrong for us because we need to do them. We don't always have a choice."
Her words were very ambiguous but Kim suspected that her mother knew exactly what she was talking about. Swallowing, she shrugged and started to prepare herself to stand up.
"Shego had a choice mom," she said. "Only heroes do what they have to do, villains and side kicks have a choice. She pointed that out to me several times."
Her mom sighed softly. "You'll be surprised Kim," she said. "I think that Shego's also bound by the same rules that you are. She just fights against it." She held up her hand quickly when Kim started to protest, wanting to accuse her of choosing the villainess's side above hers. "Chances are, she didn't mean to hurt you Kim. Might be that she thought she had to."
Kim snorted and shook her head, reflecting on the words Shego threw at her. "She meant it Mom," she said. "She doesn't want to be… friends with me. This was a once off situation which she did because she probably couldn't stand being indebted to me. To her… I was just…" Her face constricted as the pain in her chest became more acute.
"This was just a game to her Mom. Some sport. Me? Just a player on the field that she could screw over. I don't mean anything to her and she… she doesn't mean anything to me."
It sounded childish saying it like that but she didn't care. She just didn't care anymore.
Pushing herself up, Kim went to the door, but hesitated to make sure that her mother got up safely, remembering that the woman was still unwell. Ann Possible remained seated, looking up at her daughter, her face an expression of pain.
"Kimmie come here," she said softly. "Don't go now, not like this."
Kim closed her eyes and shrugged, wrapping her numbness around her like a cloak.
"How else can I go Mom?" she queried. "I was used. I made a stupid judgement error. She used me..." The tears burned behind her eyes again and when her mother pushed herself up and came to her, Kim had to take a step back, frightened that the woman's touch would make her loose her cool.
She did not want to feel the full spectrum of the emotions milling around inside her.
She still had too much to do.
"I'm going to bed," she said before her mother could hug her and opened the house door. "Sorry for... Everything Mom."
Realizing that her daughter didn't want to be touched, Ann sighed softly and hugged herself against the night
"You're not to blame Kimmie," she said. "For everything. You are such a gift to me."
In the funk that she was in, Kim didn't believe her but went into the house and silently went up to her room.
Ann waited a moment longer before she sighed and went into the house as well. It seemed that her daughter could do anything except deal with a broken heart.
Kim waited until she heard her mother return to the main bedroom before she left her room again, her heart heavy with dread. She didn't go outside this time, but down to the section of the basement where her father normally worked. As she suspected, he had spend quite a lot of time down here while she was gone.
When the world didn't make sense to Dr. James Timothy Possible he normally retreated to something which did.
Looking around his home lab, Kim's stomach twisted painfully as she moved to his desk where she could see some of his notes and two of his PDAs. Her father was a bit scatter brained when it came to keeping it all together. Grimacing, Kim went closer to his desk and picked up one of the PDAs. She scanned through the contents, her mind returning to the conversation she had had with Big Daddy Brotherson.
"I don't expect you to do anything for me," he had said. "I don't even require you to steal anything because, let's face it – if I wanted that, I could've asked Shego."
"What do you want then?" Kim had asked, her heart beating as wildly then as it was now. The small round man had smiled at her then, his eyes cruel as he seized the moment.
"Information," he said. "Your father is currently working on something called the Hephaestus Project. You've heard of it?"
She hadn't liked where it was going from the start, but Kim had consoled herself by saying that her father would've given anything to have her mother safe.
"He's mentioned it," she said blankly but didn't volunteer any other information though she knew that it was only a matter of time.
"Good," Big Daddy had said. "That would make your job a little easier."
Unable to wait any longer, Kim had asked sharply. "What is it?"
The man smiled. "I want you to tell me how far your father is with it or whether he's made a significant breakthrough in say the past couple of days. That's all. Just tell me where he is with it."
"I don't know anything about it," Kim had said uncomfortably, though she knew that it wouldn't save her. Not anymore.
"Then I'm one up on you," the obese man said with a chuckle. "Because I do. So really Kim Possible, what I ask of you isn't such a big request after all. I know all I need to know at this stage, only I'm not sure where your father stands in the grand scheme of things. If you tell me whether he's making progress and when he's made an actual breakthrough, then I will give you the information that you need on your mother. It's a small price to pay, don't you think?"
She had thought so, back when she thought that life made sense but now as she stood with her father's work in her hands, she couldn't help but feel that she was betraying him and her mother, whom she had done it for.
What she felt didn't matter anymore though. Kim had promised to deliver the information and she was going to stick by her word. She had betrayed so much of herself the past couple of days that one more thing probably didn't matter. So, she read though her father's emails until she found something worthwhile.
It was a simple email, send to her father's colleague Professor Ramesh who had asked after her mother.
No word yet, her father said. The only good news that I have, bitter now, is that I've cracked Hephaestus. The secret of the gods at my fingertips while my wife and daughter are out there. Lost.
Kim closed her eyes and put the PDA down immediately and fleeing from her father's lab as quickly as she could.
When she was finally in her room again she took out her mobile and stared at it. There had been quite a lot of messages on it when she first returned home, most from her father wanting to know where she was, some from friends who had heard about her mother.
And, there was one blank text message from an unlisted number. She went to that one slowly and replied simply:
My father's done it; he says he's cracked the Hephaestus Project.
FIN – The Healer's Touch.
AN: So. The End.
But, not the end of the story.
Ah, I feel as if I have a little stage fright now that I need to address you. :) This story has a lot of readers and judging by the mixed response, I suspect that I lost some of you in it. It was very hard following through with an idea which I knew would not be popular. But, for all the changes I made through the course of this, I realized that my goal was still the same. The idea was the build a Kim which I could take into the story of So the Drama. The sequel to this will deal with that. I should've reminded you continuously that this story takes place just before that. :)
So, if willing and you don't hate me too much after this, I request that you return for the next instalment. ;) I promise to make it worth your while.
My thanks as always to my Betas. Tenchi Knight, PixieJenn and Noncynic who have all helped me repeatedly and continuously. Also, again my thanks to you, the readers, to those who review especially. It helps, knowing what people think. It sooths the ego as well admittedly, even though I don't always hear what I want to, lol. ;P You help me become better.
With National Novel Writing Month starting in a few hours, I'm still not sure what I'm going to write, so the chances are, you'll be seeing me pretty soon with the next instalment of this.
Thank you again,
Yours in writing.