I don't own these characters; Disney does.

8: Love/hate relationship

Shego was vaguely aware of Drakken talking, but she was not sure what he was saying. His voice sounded liked an annoying hum in the background of her unfocused mind, like a washing machine running and she tuned it out. She was reclined in a chair, trying to read a magazine, but her heart was not in it. Her heart was not in anything the last couple of days, but she was trying her best to work around that.

"Shego, are you listening?" Drakken inquired with a light stomp of his foot. He knew the answer to that, but he wanted to see if she was going to admit it for once.

"No, Doctor D, I'm not listening. In fact, I couldn't give a good goddamn what you're talking about," she informed him as if it was the most logical thing to say.

Drakken yelped, not expecting that blunt and honest answer. He wondered where it came from; it was not Shego's usual style, after all. She did not stick around to explain, tearing herself away from her chair and storming out of the room. He just stood there, even though he wanted to chase after her, but he knew not to bother her right now.

Her moods had been horrible for the last couple of days. Drakken had a feeling it had to do with Yori not coming back. He knew that his assistants were close, considering how much they hung out together and almost never wanted to take him along. He wondered what he might be able to do to get her back on her feet.

Shego was not taking Yori's absence well, and he knew that it had to be even worse since he was actually noticing it. Now, Shego was always a bit of a crank, but this was so far beyond what he was used to. She seemed depressed today while yesterday she had seemed depressed and aggressive. He was glad she was not cursing at him anymore and he was maintaining a healthy distance from her because she had manhandled him yesterday after he got on her nerves. He had bruises to go with being cursed out.

He thought that getting back to business as usual would help Shego's mood, which was why he was pitching a plan to her; he had done that a few times since her return. Unfortunately, she was not paying him any mind, so he chalked up his try as a failure. He sighed and threw himself in his seat, trying to think of something else to bring Shego out of her funk.

He knew that he could not get Yori back. The school had contacted him and told him that the contract was being canceled. They did offer to send another ninja, but he was not too sure if he was ready to replace Yori so quickly. Hey, she was more than a ninja. She had been with them for a year, and for that year it had been just the three of them. They worked together…and did karaoke together. He could not just replace her like she was a burned out light bulb.

He had a feeling that Shego would not take kindly to Yori being replaced so soon either. Dealing with her if he did hire a new sidekick too quickly would not be pretty and Drakken was not looking forward to that because he knew things would go beyond her normal tantrums. So, he would be patient for the first time in his life and wait for Shego to return to her normal self.

-8-8-8-8-

Shego went and took a long shower, hoping that it would help relax her tight muscles. The warm rain of the shower did not ease any of the tension from her body. Her guts still felt like they were twisted in tight knots, making her want to throw up. She was able to hold it down, but she still felt very sick.

She managed to make her way out of the shower and grabbed just her robe. She tied it loosely before crawling into bed, thinking that she might be able to sleep off all of her negative feelings. No, that had not worked last night, but she figured that eventually it had to work. She refused to believe that she would keep feeling as she did.

It just could not be possible to feel as if she was hit by a truck every day for a long period of time, she silently convinced herself. She hated that she even had to accept that she felt so much pain…because of Yori. She could not believe the absence of a person…the rejection of a person was making her physically ill.

"To hell with Yori," Shego declared loudly before flipping over and hitting her pillow hard with her head.

Emerald eyes closed with the hope that sleep would overtake her. She prayed for no dreams since last night all she did was dream of Yori and wake up in more pain than she had gone to bed with. Eventually, she had given up. She would do the same if history repeated itself.

Sleep came and the resting body tossed and turned. A cold sweat conquered the sleeping form that groaned and moaned as if a horrible fever took over her mind. The sight was being taken in by onyx eyes, looking on in sorrow and in agony. The owner of the eyes took a step toward the bed, but stopped suddenly.

The room was filled with mumbled sounds coming from the bed and the loud, anxious beating of a frightened heart. Light footsteps then joined those noises and cloth moving did the same. Suddenly all movement ceased.

Everything was still and quiet for what felt like an eternity, but was only a few seconds. Shego tensed and shot up, sitting at full alert. Green plasma illuminated the room, bathing everything in a gentle jade glow. It was only after igniting her hands did Shego realize there were arms around her and she turned to her left…and was certain that she was dreaming.

"Shego-chan…" Yori whispered, wanting to smile and cry at the same time.

"Yori…" Shego reached out with her unlit hand and touched the smooth cheek of Yori's face. She almost gasped as she felt soft flesh and realized that this was no dream. Yori was actually lying next to her. "What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded to know, pulling away from the ninja's embrace. Rage shot through her body, jump-starting her system, and making her want to lash out at the person that hurt her so much.

The ninja's eyes watered immediately, anguish tearing through her from the rejection. Her heart, mind, and soul cried out for contact from the woman that she loved, knowing it would soothe away all of her pain. She was aware that she had to handle things delicately or she would never experience that contact ever again and she would never stop hurting.

"Shego-chan…"

"Don't 'Shego-chan' me! Not in that pathetic little voice with those teary eyes, like I'm supposed to give a good goddamn!" Shego roared while ripping herself off of the bed, wanting more distance between her and her tormentor.

"Shego-chan, I am so sorry for everything that happened in the last few days! I cannot even begin to explain myself. I was so confused and mixed up!" Yori argued, sitting up completely and ready to move off of the bed.

"Oh, and suddenly you see everything with some great clarity? Did you consult the Buddha for that?" Shego snapped, glaring at the younger woman as if she committed the worst crime ever.

Yori flinched, not used to Shego being so openly snide with her. She took a moment to breathe and settle her wounded spirit, reminding herself that she brought this one herself and she needed to remain calm to fix this mess. She kept eye contact with Shego, who kept the room bathed in green light.

"I do see everything in great clarity. I see that I need you, that I love you. I never knew what it was like to love someone as I do you, nor have I ever known the type of love that you give me. Your desire for me, your want for me to have my own life and will is my reason to get up in the morning. I want everything that you want for me and I also want things for myself. I want to be with you," Yori declared passionately.

"And when your school comes a-calling?" Shego snarled.

"I am not tied to the school anymore. Thank you for buying my contract and then giving me my freedom," Yori said. Yes, Shego had purchased Yori from the school, but then left all the paperwork with her letter for Yori. The paperwork was her last gift to the ninja…or so Shego assumed, but Yori would like to prove that wrong.

Shego rolled her eyes. "I figured you'd give that shit right back to the damn school." She honestly thought that Yori would give all of that paperwork back to the school, even though she wished for Yori to take the papers and go live her own life the way that she wanted. It was up to Yori, though.

"No. I have it with me and that is what I would do if my school ever came calling. I would tell them that they no longer own me. I am my own person. I want to be my own person with you, though. You bring out the best in me. I am sorry that my best and my will went into retreat while we were at Yamanouchi. I was so overwhelmed…and it all happened so fast…" A sob erupted from the ninja's throat.

"You've got a lot of nerve crying! What do you have to cry about?" Shego demanded in a roar, throwing her hands out in angry, causing the light in the room to shift and brighten as her fury charged through her.

"I am crying because I fear I have lost you! I need you so much, I want you so much, and it hurts deeply knowing that I might have lost you because of my inability to think. I am begging you…begging you! Forgive me!" the ninja pled, tears pouring down her face and her hands thrown out like a beggar.

Yori picked herself up from off of the bed and took shaky steps toward Shego. The pale woman was set to flee farther, but decided to stand her ground. She wanted to see what the kunoichi's next move was. She was not sure why, but she was surprised when Yori halted right in front of her and dropped to her knees, bowing down to the thief.

"What happened? Did your pretty boy buffoon decide to stick with Miss Perfect?" Shego sneered, her words as venomous as the glare that she was giving the younger woman.

Yori's eyes searched the floor for a moment, confused by the names. When realization dawned on her, she was able to answer. "I rejected him. He is my friend, my first friend. Our actions were wrong and I will make no excuses for them. If you wish for me to explain why it happened, I will."

"Tell me…was I not enough?" Shego asked, accidentally adding that last bit. She sounded so quiet, small, and scared.

"No! You are more than enough! My mind was just whirling and I thought that I would be staying at the school. I was…I was giving up," she confessed in a sorrow tone. "I just was going to give up."

"Why?"

"I felt powerless and that it was the honorable thing to do…or so I thought at the time. I thought that I should be loyal to the school then."

"And now you think that you should be loyal to me?" Shego demanded in a tight voice. "I should've been first! Now, all of a sudden I'm at the top of the fucking list! Why? Because I bought your fucking contract?"

"Of course not! How could you even say that?"

"Because not even three days ago you didn't give two damns about me and now all of a sudden I come first? Give me a fucking break! Why now?" Shego screamed, needing reasons like she needed air.

"You are right! You should have been first, but I did not realize that until you were gone! I can live without the school, but I cannot live without you! I am not alive without you! I am best with you!"

Shego growled and made a tight fist. She then leaned down and snatched Yori to her feet by her shirt collar. The ninja almost flinched, but caught herself; a whimper did escape her throat because she did not know what the raging thief might do. They stared at each other hard; Shego glared down at the younger woman like she was trying to set Yori on fire with her eyes. Tears continued to flow from Yori's eyes, imploring her lover to believe her.

"I love you…" Yori whimpered, voice cracking with sincerity.

"You figured that out on your own?" Shego inquired because it did not seem like something that Yori would know without help.

"I did. I am in love with you, Shego." Yori insisted, eyes begging to be believed and her voice was desperate.

A snarl tugged at Shego's lip, looking as if she had been thoroughly insulted. "How the hell do you know? How the fuck do you know what the hell love is? A fucked up a kid like you wouldn't know love if it bit you in the ass!"

Yori winced as if she had been punched in the face, but she quieted her hurt by silently telling herself that she deserved Shego's wrath considering what she put the thief through. "I know that I am in love with you because of all the emotions that went through me when you pushed me away, when you ran out of my life! What I feel for Ron-kun could not even be compared to what I feel for you!" Her voice cracked and fear caused her to tremble, thinking that it was possible for Shego to send her away. She did not know what she would do without Shego in her life and she did not want to think about it.

Shego was quiet and still, her body shaking just as much as the kunoichi's form. Yori was patient, but her tears did not cease. Her eyes shined through the tears, imploring that they try again. Shego felt something inside of her splinter while looking into the begging eyes of the younger woman. She could practically hear her anger shatter, overcome by so many other emotions. Slowly, Shego wrapped her arms around the ninja and held her. They both breathed sighs of relief as they were pressed against each other.

"I need you too. I hate it, but I want it too. I hate what you can do to me, but I love what you do to me too," Shego whispered into the ninja's ear. She held Yori close to her, as if she was scared that Yori was going to flee from her again. She could not let that happen, she told herself. She could not let Yori go. "But, you should know that I won't take this a second time," she said in a low, serious tone.

"I never meant to hurt you and I will do my best to never hurt you again," Yori muttered, burying her head into the thief's collarbone.

"I know." Shego kissed the top of Yori's head.

"I will never take you for granted again and I will fight for us from now on. I know what I need and I know what is best for me. I will always fight for us."

Shego nodded to show that she believed Yori. She had to believe Yori because she was too emotionally tired to fight anymore. Besides, she thought it said a lot for Yori to have come back to her so quickly; maybe Yori was finally breaking the spell the school had over her. Shego found that she was not only willing to take the risk, but that she had to because she wanted this pain to just go away.

They stayed like they were, wrapped in each other's arms, for a long time; time really meant nothing to them at the moment. Eventually, they ended up back in bed, curled against each other. They fell into a deep, peaceful sleep with their hands, feet, and limbs entangled as if they were afraid that if they were not touching the other would vanish as they slept.

Upon waking, Yori stared at Shego as if she was trying to will her awake. It seemed to work because Shego stirred a couple of minutes later. Yori smiled before placing a gentle kiss to a willing mouth.

"Shego-chan…there are some things that I wish to tell you," the ninja said.

Shego groaned. "You have to make your confession so early in the morning?"

"I want you to know everything about me, just like I want to know everything about you."

Shego yawned and nodded. She quietly listened as Yori explained some of the worse things that she had to go through while living at Yamanouchi, but also some of the best. She did want Shego to understand that things had not been all bad; Shego already knew that, but she let Yori recount everything. She held the younger woman when Yori teared up as she spoke out taking lives for the school; she had slain three people in her life and hated herself for it.

"It's okay, cherry blossom. It's okay," Shego whispered onto her ear while rubbing her head.

"I was a puppet…a tool…" Yori sniffed.

"You aren't that anymore, though. You weren't responsible for your actions then either. You were a tool and if someone uses a hammer to kill someone, it's not the hammer's fault," Shego tried to assure her lover. God, she had a lot of work ahead of her with Yori, but she was going to stick it out. She had to; she needed Yori as much as the ninja needed her.

Yori nodded, but her tears continued to flow. "I have a little sister…"

"A sister?" Shego echoed in shock. It would seem that her cherry blossom had been keeping a lot of things secret for the past year.

"Well, she is not related to me by blood and I have not seen her in almost two years, but I took care of her when she was a baby. Master Sensei gave her to Ron-kun's family," Yori explained.

Shego snorted in anger. "Why do I have a feeling this is more of his manipulative bullshit?"

"I am not too sure what his plan is by having the two together, but Hana is probably more powerful than Ron-kun, even if he masters his monkey powers. I know Master Sensei would want those powers on the side of Yamanouchi, just as he wanted Ron-kun."

"Do you want me to get her back for you?" Shego asked, already working out a plan to steal the child.

Yori shook her head. "Ron-kun and his family love her as their own. I would not deny them that. Ron-kun has promised to speak with his parents, so that I might be able to visit her and I have promised to protect her from Yamanouchi when they decide to take her back. Would it be too much to ask you to come with me when I do visit?" she asked, hope shining in her eyes.

"No, it wouldn't be asking too much. I'll also be there with you when you have to protect her. I know a thing or two about being a big sister too, so I'll help you out with her."

"You're a big sister?" Yori asked in shock.

Shego chuckled a bit. "I guess there's a few things I need to tell you."

Yori smiled and cuddled up into Shego as the thief started talking about her past, stunning the ninja with the news that she was once a hero. She talked about her brothers and her split with them. She even confessed that she missed them from time to time.

"Perhaps…we could visit them. I would like to meet them," Yori said.

"We'll see about that. I need to prep you before you meet my crazy kin. You make sure you let me know when Stoppable calls you with the okay to see your little sister. We'll go over there that day, okay?"

Yori grinned and was so overjoyed that she could not speak. So, she went with something better than talking and kissed Shego soundly on the lips. After that, she settled comfortable against the older woman.

"You are a wonderful person, Shego-chan."

"Nah, you make me that way. Now, as much as I hate to say this, but let's get out of bed and get showered. After that, I'm going to treat you and Drakken to some breakfast."

"Treat Drakken?" Yori echoed with a puzzled expression. She could not recall the last time her girlfriend was openly nice to their employer.

"Yeah, the goof's been trying to cheer me up since I got back, so I guess I can show him I noticed the effort."

Yori grinned and agreed. They got out of bed and prepared for the day. Drakken almost jumped into orbit when he saw Yori and could not stop babbling because of his joy. It did not help matters when Shego invited him out with them and he rambled all the way through breakfast, smiling like the happy madman he was through it all. Shego and Yori just let him go; Yori was even polite enough to pay attention to him every now and then. To complete the day for Drakken, Shego actually went to karaoke with him and Yori…She refused to sing, though.

And true to her word, Shego went with Yori when Ron called and said that his parents thought it was a great idea for Yori to visit with Hana. Yori burst into tears when she saw how big the child had gotten since she last saw her. Hana was a toddler, going to be four soon, and she did not remember Yori at all, which got a new set of tears from the ninja.

"It's all right," Shego whispered to Yori while rubbing her shoulder. "She'll get to know you again," she promised. She then turned her attention to the Stoppables. "Would it be all right for us to take her out for about an hour? Just so Yori can get a little time in with her?"

"How about we start small? Get to know her some place she's familiar with first. You don't want to take her out, only to have her cry the whole time because she's scared," Mrs. Stoppable reasoned. "I'm sure that would only hurt Yori more." From what Ron told her, she knew that he would want to spare Yori any more pain in regards to her little sister.

The green-skinned woman nodded to that logic. The Stoppables vanished somewhere in the house and Yori was able to start building her relationship with Hana all over again. Shego looked at the pair and shook her head while smiling. Drakken was going to get a kick out of this; there was a baby in their "evil family" now. As Shego watched Yori, sorrow gradually being replaced with joy, she could not help thinking how right everything was at the moment and she was able to let go.

"Let me show you two how to build something with blocks!" Shego suddenly declared while taking a seat with the pair, who were playing with building blocks. Yori smiled, which caused Hana to smile.

They did look like a little family, Yori noted, and she was thankful for that. She silently vowed to do everything in her power to protect her family and keep them together. She was going to be a sister to Hana, like before, and she was going to be the best girlfriend she could be for Shego. She was going to be her own person, she silently declared, and she reached over to take Shego's hand.

Shego looked down at the hand holding hers and then turned to the owner of the hand. She smiled at Yori and the expression held so much promise. They were going to make it.

-8-8-8-8-

The end.

A/N: Thanks to my betas, Ken-zero and Faioxromokitoma. Much love to them and to my readers. I'm going back to my padded cell now; hopefully, you'll all be back for the next story.