I don't own these characters; Disney does. Oh, wait, there's a cornucopia of OCs in this one. I do own the following: Trin, Shin, and Tatsu. The other OCs will appear in the next chapter.

A/N: Hi, this is just a little trip back into the Pariah Universe. There's no real plot, just a little holiday celebrating. I hope you enjoy.

Family Gathering

1: Together

Peace and serenity filled the apartment that Shego and Kim lived in. Shego felt pretty about herself, holding an early Christmas present in her hand and lounging on the comfortable, black leather couch. Emerald eyes focused on the gift as a smile played on her lips. Lightly, she fingered the present as she settled deeper onto the sofa.

She was waiting for Kim to come in to spring her gift on the redhead. Waving the gift around, she imagined Kim's reaction. In her head, the reaction involved loads of hot kisses and clothes tearing. A little action on the floor or sofa suited her just as well too. She could only hope that the reality of things were close to what she imagined.

Soon, she would find out how things were going to go because she heard Kim's keys in the door. Shoving her present into a nearby book, she grabbed a magazine and tried her best to appear nonchalant. When Kim entered the living room, she almost walked by Shego, who did not notice that she was "reading" her magazine upside down.

"Hey, Princess," the older woman said with a bright smile, causing Kim to jump in surprise.

"Shego!" Kim yelped, turning her attention to her girlfriend. "What are you doing here?" she asked, sounding almost confused.

"I live here last I checked," Shego remarked, still smiling rather big.

"You know what I mean!" Kim replied, a blush of embarrassment coloring her cheeks just a little.

"Of course I do, but instead of asking silly questions, why don't you give me a real nice greeting, huh?" Shego proposed, finally sporting a smirk to help things seem normal.

Kim blushed a bit deeper, feeling even more sheepish about how she entered the apartment. She knew that she should have been happy to see Shego as soon as she entered their home and she should have expressed that, she mentally admonished herself. She had just been so stunned that Shego as in their apartment instead of down the hall, getting on her sister's nerves in some manner.

Sliding her shoulder bag onto the floor, the college student moved over to Shego and leaned down for a delayed show of affection, kissing Shego soundly. Although it was only a few seconds long, it got an elated moan out of both women. As Kim tried to pull away, Shego grabbed her around the waist and yanked her onto the sofa. Kim yowled for the second time in less than five minutes.

"Shego!" Kim complained as she fell against her lover.

"What? You're acting like you don't want to be close to me," Shego commented as she held Kim to her.

"Of course I want to be close to you, but I did just come from outside. I'm going to get your clothes all messed up and you'll get dirty," Kim pointed out. She had been out in the elements while Shego was still in house clothes, indicating that she had not been out all day.

"So you're a little damp. If I have my way, you'll be way more moist than this," the pale woman quipped with a suggestive smirk, pawing at Kim in a rather exaggerated manner.

The hero giggled, mostly because Shego was partly tickling her. "You're incorrigible!" she cried, trying her best to pull away, but the older woman had her in her clutches.

"I know I am and you love me this way. Is it still snowing outside?" Shego asked curiously as she ceased tickling her lover. Kim adjusted her body, so that she rested more comfortably against the former villain.

"Yeah, it's lighter now than when I left. Did you go out in it?"

Emerald eyes rolled and there was a loud snort before the verbal reply. "Of course not! I've been inside all day on this couch, drinking hot cocoa."

A light, happy chuckle escaped the redhead. "Somehow, I don't see it. Now, do you think you could let me up? I'd like to get into some dry clothes and then I promise I will come back and badger you with questions, like why are you here," she stated.

"Well, that's a pretty deep question, Kimmie. Why are any of us here?" Shego teased.

Kim stuck her tongue out at Shego as she stood up. The gesture earned her a light slap on the butt. She did not say anything and disappeared into the back of the apartment. Shego yawned and went back to her magazine, finally seeing that she did not have it turned the right way.

"I wonder if she noticed," Shego grumbled. She was willing to bet that Kim had noticed, but did not say anything about it for whatever reason. It did not matter anyway since she would be showing Kim her gift when the petite redhead came back into the living room.

Returning the magazine to its place on the coffee table, the green-skinned woman eased back on the sofa and waited for Kim to come back. Her thoughts drifted back to her gift and she eyed the book that she hid the present in. A smile curled onto her face as she got lost in the fantasy of how Kim would react to the gift. The redhead returned shortly and curled into Shego's body, taking the older woman's mind from her fantasy and back to reality very quickly. Shego welcomed the weight against her and wrapped her arms around Kim, cuddling against the smaller frame.

"This feels so nice after coming in from the cold," the petite hero muttered, putting her arms around her girlfriend.

"I should've made you some hot cocoa too," Shego realized. She had been too busy thinking about giving out her early present more than anything else, though.

Kim shook her head. "No, this is fine. I've already had more than my fair share of hot chocolate today anyway."

Shego made a noise, but decided to just revel in their closeness for a moment. Stroking Kim's hair, Shego thought about how contented she was with her life for the moment. She had been with Kim for almost a year and a half and without Drakken for just as long. She was without her typical reckless freedom for just as long too. Yet, she was quite happy with things. A little bored, but she would not wish for a different set up.

"So, what did you do all day?" Kim inquired curiously.

"Funny you should ask that," Shego replied, leaning forward to retrieve her gift. She snatched up the two small, thin pieces of paper. "I planned an early Christmas surprise for you." She held the gift up for Kim to see.

A peach-colored forehead wrinkled. "What are these?" the younger woman asked as she took the pair of what appeared to be tickets from Shego.

"Nothing much, just a winter cruise for you and me," the former thief declared with a proud grin. She then waited to be showered in kisses…kisses that never came.

"A cruise? For when?" Kim continued to ask questions, sounding a little confused by things as she examined the tickets closely. She could see when they were for, but could not believe it.

"It's a Christmas cruise," Shego pointed out, finger on the date printed right on the ticket.

"A Christmas cruise?" Again, Kim sounded baffled, as if she did not understand what she was being told.

Shego snorted and laughed. "Yes! Is there an echo in here or is it just my redhead parrot? So, what do you think?" she inquired, resting her head against Kim's shoulder and smiling brilliantly.

"Um…sweetheart, this is a really great gift…" Kim's voice said otherwise, though.

"I sense a 'but' coming and not the good kind either," Shego said, hand straying down to Kim's rear, if only to keep herself occupied, so that she did not get too upset over why they were probably not going to be using her gift.

"Shego, sweetheart," Kim paused and turned to the point where she put her legs around Shego's waist. Green eyes locked before Kim continued. "I always spend Christmas with my family," she stated.

"What?" A pale brow furrowed. "You didn't last year," Shego pointed out. They had all remained in the apartment building last year and celebrated the holiday in Trin and Shin's apartment. She recalled that Trin had actually outdone herself on the dinner, even though it was not what she expected of a Christmas dinner by blondie. Actually, now that she was thinking about it, it was as if Trin had not expected that she would have to cook on Christmas.

"Shego, don't you remember that huge snow storm last year? We couldn't leave and even if we could, there was no way we'd be able to make it into Middleton, which had snow way worse than we did," Kim reminded her lover. The storm last year had been epic; they could not drive out of town and flying was out of the question. So, they had to improvise.

The older woman took a moment to recollect more of the holiday than the meal and then she remembered. For that whole week, Kim had been so hyped about going back home and then the night before they were going to leave the snow started. The snow had not stopped long enough for them to escape the city by any means. Her eyes drifted back to the tickets.

"I forgot…" Shego muttered, sounding and looking very disappointed in herself. She could not believe that she had forgotten how overjoyed Kim had been last year. It slipped her mind because they had not been able to make the trip and she had been so pleased wit herself on snagging those cruise tickets.

"Oh, sweetie, it's fine," Kim tried to assure her lover when she saw how down Shego actually looked over what happened.

Shego glanced down for a moment, trying to gather herself, and then stared up at her girlfriend through her eyelashes. "There's no way I could convince you to come away with me for seven days is there?" she inquired with an exaggerated pout, hoping that it would help, if only a little.

"Baby, I would love to, but I miss my family. As much as I love being with you, I still want to see them, especially on Christmas. For us, Christmas is a family holiday and I do really miss them. I know it might not seem like much time to you, but I used to see them everyday and now I only see them weeks at a time," Kim tried to explain.

"But, you have the month off, Princess," Shego pointed out, even though she knew that she was going to lose the argument. Still, seven days on a cruise ship was worth the fight, even if it was a halfhearted attempt.

"I could say the same to you."

"Yeah, but my gift is already bought and paid for," Shego stated, forcing out a teasing smile.

The redhead pouted a bit, olive eyes begging for forgiveness. "Sorry, Shego," she apologized.

"Don't worry about it, Pumpkin," the older woman said, waving the apology off. "I'll sell 'em on line and make a profit. Next time I'll just plan better."

"It was a very nice idea," Kim insisted. Had it been any other time, she would be packing her bags to leave with Shego, but not during Christmas.

"You would love it more if you got to experience it and then you'd really appreciate it," Shego remarked, gently stroking her girlfriend's sides.

"Some other time, baby. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents and even the tweebs. Ron will be around too," Kim informed her lover with a soft smile as she thought about everyone that would be around.

"I have to deal with Ron too?" Shego teased, making sure to groan as if the thought alone pained her greatly.

Kim smiled and then gave Shego a kiss on the end of her nose. "Yes, you have to deal with Ron too. I think he's bringing Yori to experience both Hanukkah and Christmas with our families. It's a big family affair," Kim proclaimed.

"Sounds that way."

"I want you to experience it too. This is a Possible family tradition and while you're with me, you're a Possible," Kim declared.

A light laugh escaped Shego. "I don't get a say in this, do I?" she joked. She already knew that Kim felt like she was part of the family and she had to say, after a year and a half with Kim, she felt more than welcomed by the Possibles.

"Hey, I just had an idea. Would your family like to join us?" Kim proposed with a sparkle in her eye that let her lover know she thought this was a wonderful idea.

"My family?" Shego's face scrunched up and made it seem like she did not know what that was. The blank look in her eyes almost seemed to declare that she did not have a family, which Kim knew was far from the truth.

Red-orange hair swayed as the hero nodded. "I know it's short notice, but the more the merrier as far as the Possible clan is concerned. So, would your family like to come or are they busy? I'm sure that they had their own Christmas plans."

An amused smile settled on the pale face. "Not everyone celebrates Christmas, Princess."

"I know that. But, does yours? I don't know much about your family, Shego, and we've been dating for over a year. Doesn't that seem odd to you?"

Shego scratched her head a little. "It's not too weird. I don't talk about them much, but then again, you've met my brothers, so you know why. Is this really that important to you, Kimmie?"

Puppy-like olive eyes were the only answer Shego really required, but the small nod just confirmed the eyes. Shego sighed and rubbed her face for a moment, trying to fix her mouth to say what she needed to say. Pressing Kim closer to her, the words found their way out of her throat.

"I guess I can call my parents and get them to come up. I'm sure they're not doing anything," Shego stated.

"Really?" Kim squeaked, grin lighting up the whole room.

"It shouldn't be too much of a problem. They usually just go trips around this time of year anyway. So, I'll call them and tell them to meet us in Middleton. When Christmas day or eve?"

"Eve. We have both a Christmas Eve dinner and a Christmas dinner, so it would be best for them to come eve," Kim explained.

"Consider it done, Princess."

"Thank you!" Kim then launched herself at Shego, going in mouth first. Somewhere in between the kisses, Shego considered herself screwed…and not in the pleasant way either. She did not want to have to deal with her parents, especially not with a certain blonde Possible around. But, it was going to have to be a necessary evil since Kim was so happy.

-8-8-8-8-

"What the hell do you mean you might not be going?" Trin demanded, glaring at her male counterpart, looking as if she was trying to grind his bones while they were still in his body. Standing with her arms folded across her chest in their neat and tidy living room, somehow she looked like a patiently waiting, coiled viper. A strike was imminent, but her target either did not notice or care.

"Just what I said. I might not go home for Christmas this year. I was thinking about spending this year with Booker," Shin declared with just as much bravado as he had the first time he made the statement. He stood several feet away with his chest puffed out and his chin held high.

"You just want me to slap the hell out of you, don't you? You can't just invite yourself to someone's Christmas holiday, even if you are his boyfriend," Trin pointed out, tone implying that she thought her best friend was some kind of moron.

Deep brown eyes rolled. "Why not? He said it was always all right for me to stop by," he countered, as if that made everything all right.

"Yes, but is it his house for him to give you that sort of permission? No. It belongs to his mother, who I do believe you failed to make a good impression on as you have a horrible habit of doing. You don't have the right to ruin that woman's time with her family," Trin argued calmly, tone and eyes still calling Shin an idiot.

"Since when do you even care?" he inquired venomously.

Trin growled. "Excuse me for showing some concern for you."

"How the hell is this even concern for me? I know what I'm doing is the right thing, so how the hell is it concern for me?" Shin demanded. "You're just trying to order me around because you're a control freak," he proclaimed.

Blue eyes rolled before Trin sighed. For a moment, she took her glasses off and massaged the bridge of her nose. Easing herself down on the sofa, she took several deep breaths to keep her composure. Crossing her legs at the ankle, she put her hands in her lap. Then, with grace and elegance, she turned her attention back to Shin.

"This is the way it's going to be, Shin. You are coming back to Middleton with us. You are staying with your parents during the time. You will attend dinner at my house, as we do every year. If this proves to be a problem or too much for you to handle, I will simply drug you and you will wake up in Middleton," she explained to him in a rather composed and rational tone, letting him know that she meant every word of it.

He glared at her. "You think I'm going to let that happen?"

"You think you can go without eating or drinking in this house until we leave?" she countered.

"What does it matter!" he demanded, stomping his foot like a spoiled brat.

"It matters because you can't just invite yourself into someone else's holiday and you can't just dismiss your own family's feeling on the matter. Do you think your parents are going to be happy to find out that you just invited yourself to someone's Christmas and forgotten about them?"

"I want to be with Booker," he stated plainly.

"Then you should have invited him."

For a moment, Shin was quiet. Glancing away, he rubbed his eyes. She noticed that his jaw was trembling, which she suspected was not an act. Still, she did not care if he was about to cry. He could bawl his eyes out and he was still going to Middleton for Christmas.

"Why are you making this into such a big deal?" he asked, voice cracking and tears gathering in his eyes.

"Because it is a big deal on two different ends and because I want to. Now, get this idea out of your head. I will tell you right now, I refuse to let you make an ass out of yourself in front of Booker. What do you think he's going to go through if you show up unannounced during Christmas? His mother already doesn't like you thanks to your usual shenanigans over the summer. How much and how far are you willing to go before she demands that you never see Booker again? You need to learn how to act before you go anywhere next to that woman again," Trin announced and she could not believe that she was the one giving him this speech. Unfortunately, she was the only one around to give it to him. She hoped that it got through to him, but if not, she was looking forward to trying all sorts of new drugs on him.

"Look, you shrew, I wanna see Booker," Shin said, stomping his foot again like an angry child. She was not moved.

"So the hell what? If you were so keen on seeing Booker, you would have made a better impression on his mother to be invited to their Christmas. Now, again, I will drug you if you make me think it's necessary," she insisted.

"Damn it! You're such a fucking bitch!" he declared before storming off, slamming the door to his bedroom.

"Fucking baby," Trin called, not surprised by his attitude. She could hardly believe that he was acting so stupid. She understood that he had deep feelings for Booker and everything, but to just abandon their family and also burst into Bookers's family during Christmas was a little too much. "He was probably acting, just testing the waters to see if that was a good idea," she concluded. Or, to see how much of a bad idea it was. That was something that he would do, after all. Of course, he could not just ask, he had to get on her nerves with it as much as possible too.

Trin did not have much time to contemplate why her evil twin was acting like a spoiled brat…more so than usual. Tatsu eased her way out into the living room and crawled onto the couch. She was still somewhat wet from her shower, which she just took, but Trin cuddled into her immediately anyway. Tatsu wrapped her arms around Trin and held her close.

"Shin giving you fits again?" Tatsu asked, mumbling as usual.

"Of course. He's being stupid as usual, but I have him under control, as always," Trin replied.

"What was the problem?"

"I'm not sure if there really was one, but he seemed to be under the impression that he was going to be able to skip our family Christmas time together and go be with Booker while ruining Christmas for not just his own parents, but Booker's mother as well," the blond explained as if it was no big deal. It was hard to believe that she had just been screaming at Shin about this.

Tatsu's eyebrows curled up a little. "You're going to make him go home?"

"Of course I am. I can't allow him to ruin so many holidays at once. Yes, he might enjoy it, but many others won't and that's not fair."

Tatsu made a strange noise, but did not comment further on that matter. "How long are you gonna be gone for the Christmas thing?"

Trin eyed her lover curiously. "Baby, what do you mean? You're coming too."

"I am?" Tatsu asked. That was news to her.

"Of course you are! Baby, this is our first Christmas out to my family. They all know about us. You have to come. You're a part of the family now too," Trin insisted.

Ice blue eyes glanced away. "…Are you sure? I don't wanna mess up the holiday…"

"Baby, you would never mess up the holiday. My parents and brothers are expecting you. You can't do this to me, Tatsu. You can't just abandon me on Christmas," Trin begged, clinging tightly to her lover. Sapphire eyes widened and glistened, cutting into Tatsu.

"No! I'd never!" Tatsu swore, holding her girlfriend tighter. Placing a gentle kiss to Trin's pale cheek, she took a deep breath before continuing. "I'd never abandon you. I just…didn't know I was invited. That's all."

"Of course you're invited, baby. You're practically a Possible," Trin declared.

Tatsu was silent from that. Trin searched her ice blue eyes, trying to determine what was wrong with her partner. Mostly, all she could see was some underlying sorrow, but there seemed to be more to things than that.

"Do you want to visit your mother or your father while we're there?" Trin proposed, thinking that might be what was wrong with Tatsu. She had not come from anything close to the ideal family situation, so maybe being around the Possible clan or just hearing about them reminded her of what she came from.

"I dunno. Maybe." Tatsu took a deep breath again. "Trin…" she said, sounding grim and serious.

"Baby, please, tell me what's wrong. What can I do to help? How can I make you feel better?" Trin tenderly implored, caressing her lover's stomach.

Tatsu shook her head, her short, damp hair falling in her face because of the movement. A cream-colored hand reached up and brushed the wet hair back. Tatsu smile a little.

"It's not something bad. I'm just a little…um…what's the word?" Tatsu rubbed her forehead, scanning her mind for the word that she needed. "Oh, overwhelmed by everything. Sometimes, I just get that way when I think about you. I feel so much then."

"But, you look sad," Trin pointed out.

There was a nod. "Partly because I remember what my parents were like compared to yours, but it's more about feeling bad because I can't give you all that you give me in return."

"Baby, don't be silly! You give me so much," Trin proclaimed, eyes imploring that her beloved believe her.

"Not as much as I want to give you," Tatsu pointed out and then she sighed, shaking her head. "If you only knew, my love."

"Tell me," Trin requested in a breath.

"I want to be able to take you to the finest restaurants and pay for everything. I want to be able to buy you a house. I want to be able to take you wherever you want to go and never once have you go into your own wallet. I want to be stable enough to be a family with you," Tatsu explained, her voice low, disbelieving what she was actually confessing.

"Oh, baby. Those are just material things and the last part is already true. You are my family. One day, we can have a home together. We can start saving now," Trin said.

Tatsu shook her head. "It's not the same. I feel like we're unbalanced sometime, like I don't pull my weight. Like, living here. I can't find stable work. When I do get a job, I get fired almost right after getting my first paycheck for whatever reasons, so I can't really pay any bills. This is no way to live. I'm living off of you and I don't want that," she explained. She had already been through three jobs and she was unemployed at the moment. She felt like she could not offer Trin anything and it was like she was a leech, even though she knew her lover did not feel that way about things.

The blond nodded. "I understand what you mean, baby. I truly do. How's about this, we start a joint bank account and I will only put in whenever you do and only the same amount. I have faith that you'll find steady work and make more money, but until then, we can go small."

"That sounds good," Tatsu agreed with a nod. "Do you think I should have kept working on the race cars?" She had given up working on illegal racecars because she felt like she had a lot to lose if she got caught breaking the law. She wanted to be responsible for Trin and for their relationship.

"You know I was behind your decision, no matter what it was. I respect that you walked away from it, though," Trin answered. Honestly, it made no difference to her what Tatsu did for a living as she loved the woman, not the job, but when Tatsu explained why she could stop doing something illegal, it had touched Trin. Secretly, the blond felt the same and knew that she now had to be careful with her own activities. So, there was to be no more "borrowing" satellites or hacking computers when she was bored.

"Can't hold you if I'm in jail…or trying to pay off thousands of dollars in fines," Tatsu quipped, smiling a little.

"Oh, that is a bad thing since you know how much I love these arms around me," Trin commented, caressing Tatsu's tight biceps. "But, I would also move heaven and Earth to keep you out of jail if you decided to go back to working on the race cars."

Tatsu laughed a bit. "I know you would, but I don't want to cause you that kind of trouble. Would you believe when I think about the future with you I actually think 'white picket fence' and stuff like that?" Stuff like that had never entered her mind until she started dating Trin and even then, she had to get to know the blond better for such things to invade her mind. Before Trin, Tatsu lived hour to hour, not even planning for the next day. Life drifted by her, but now she had plans and she enjoyed that.

"I can believe it. I often think the same. I don't need excitement in my life, baby. I like a slow pace and if you want to live in the suburbs and have a dog and things of that nature, I am all for it."

Tatsu smiled a little more and leaned her forehead against Trin's. "What are these odds of that happening?" she asked in a low voice.

"While Shin lives and breaths? Slim to none, but it is nice to dream."

An amused smile lit up Tatsu's face, showing that she agreed. The couple remained snuggled on the sofa for quite some time. Trin was pleased to know that she had gotten Shin settled and that she had also connected with Tatsu. For a while, she had feared that she and Tatsu might have reached their end, especially over the summer. But, they talked things out and were stronger than ever now, especially since they both began opening up to each other.

Trin thought it helped that Tatsu now lived with her. Once it had been established that they were living together, they had hit a few bumps in the road, but nothing too tough. They were able to endure and overcome little differences and big annoyances, like Shin, who had made it his business to show that he disliked the idea of Tatsu moving in. He was somewhat over it now, but every now and then his feelings toward the matter came out. Their biggest problem currently was Tatsu's employment record, which only bothered Trin because it bothered the mechanic.

"Baby, I promise, this Christmas is going to be great," Trin stated, placing a small, delicate kiss to her lover's lips.

"I'm looking forward to it then," Tatsu replied, some trepidation in her voice. While she had no doubt that the holiday itself would be fine and the Possible family would get along get, she hoped that she was not so awkward to ruin everything. She had never had a proper Christmas with a family before.

"And you don't have to be nervous. You've been around my family before."

"Not for Christmas."

"I know, but think of it as Thanksgiving all over again. You had a good time then, right? And it was a first."

"Still, it wasn't Christmas."

Trin smiled and kissed Tatsu on the lips. "It'll be fine," she promised. The adoring look in Tatsu's face let Trin know that her beloved believed her.

-8-8-8-8-

"Hey, sis, can I ask you a personal question?" Kim asked as she and Trin were returning from their final day of tests. They were in the school parking lot walking to Trin's car.

"You know you can ask me anything, Mini-me," Trin replied.

"For Christmas, are you going to do anything special for Tatsu?"

Trin arched an eyebrow, knowing her little sister liked speaking in euphemisms when it came to certain relationship matters. "By special you mean boxed gift or bedroom gift?" she asked as they climbed into the car.

"Both."

"Bedroom special seems to be a before and after the trip. I'm a little uncomfortable with doing such things with Mom and Dad right now the hall," Trin explained.

Kim nodded. "It does seem a little weird. What if Shego wants to?"

"I'm sure if you tell Shego you're uncomfortable with the idea of doing anything in our parents' house, she'll understand. She might tease you a bit, but you don't like the idea, tell her."

"Okay. And what about boxed gift?"

"Well, my relationship with Tatsu is just a little different from yours and Shego's. Shego lets you direct the relationship while I try to let Tatsu do it. So, I don't want to do anything too big to make her uncomfortable," Trin replied.

"You let her make the grand gestures?"

"Well, it's that or I make my grand gestures seem subtle. Do you want to make a grand gesture toward Shego?"

"I'm not sure. I want her to know I appreciate her and everything that she's given up for me. I know she sacrificed a lot and I want her to know that I still recognize this after being together for a year and a half," Kim informed her sister.

"Do you want ideas on what you should do for her?" Trin inquired curiously.

"It would be a great help."

"Well, all women love jewelry," the blond commented with a smile.

"Even Tatsu?" the petite hero teased.

"Hmmm…we might have to find out. I have yet to buy my baby any sort of jewelry. It could be fun, so I shall give that a try. I just have to be careful. I feel like if I buy her a ring at this point, she'll run screaming into the dark."

"Why do you think that?"

Trin shrugged a little. "I think this whole change for her, not just scenery, but jobs and everything, has her skittish. She's seemed rather anxious lately and she told me that she doesn't feel like she pulls her weight. I don't want to shake her too much."

The younger sister nodded. "That makes sense. I feel like I need to do something big because Shego seems little anxious too. I think she needs to get away a little bit. She actually brought tickets to a cruise for Christmas. I felt bad for having to turn her down."

"Well, there you go. Maybe you should buy tickets for a cruise that you both could go on. Maybe for Valentine's day…well, a late Valentine's day as it would have to be spring break."

Nodding enthusiastically, Kim grinned. "That is a good idea. I'll have to do that. I'm going to do a few other things for Shego too. I don't want her to get bored with me."

Trin cast her sister a curious glance. "Bored with you?" she echoed incredulously.

"Well, I know a lot of the time Shego is happy with just lounging around, but being with me is a complete changing of gears for her. Even when she wasn't being Drakken's lackey, she was off on exotic vacations and stuff like that. Now, she just lounges on your couch and harasses you."

"And loves you," Trin added in.

"Yeah, there is that. But, love can only last as long as both parties are happy with their circumstances," Kim pointed out.

A proud smile graced the elder sibling's face. "You are wise beyond your years, Mini-me. I think that you'll handle this Christmas just fine."

"I hope so," Kim stated.

Trin waved her little sister off, certain that Kim had things well under control. She just hoped that Kim's worry of Shego getting bored was inaccurate. Unfortunately, she could tell what Kim meant. One of the things that Kim and Shego had in common was the fact that they both liked to keep active. Kim, of course, was much more extreme in that, but Shego had her moments. There was only so much lounging around the house Shego would be able to take.

-8-8-8-8-

"Do you have everything packed?" Kim asked Shego as she leaned on the door. She was pretty much ready to leave with the clothes on her back because she had essentials at her parents' house. She had had the forethought to have all of her gifts shipped to her parents' house too, so she did not have to worry about carrying them.

"Yes, you know I do considering the fact that you packed most of it last night," Shego replied, coming out of their bedroom with a duffle bag on her shoulder.

"I was bored!"

"You were antsy," the older woman corrected her lover.

Kim laughed, but refused to admit that was the reason. Shego let it go in favor of checking her bag for the fifth time. Honestly, she could not believe that she was going through with this when she could have been on a luxury cruise liner sipping drinks out of a coconut.

"Are your parents and brothers going to show up?" Kim asked curiously as they exited the apartment.

"I couldn't find any of my brothers, but according to my father, he and my mother are on opposite ends of the globe," Shego answered.

Kim's brow wrinkled. "You make it sound like they're apart," she commented.

"They are. My mother is taking in the sun down in Sydney and my father is mountain climbing in the Swiss Alps. "

"Your parents vacation separately?" Kim inquired. She wondered if that was something Shego would end up wanting to do. She did not like that idea.

"No, they don't vacation separately."

"Then I don't understand."

"It's complicated," Shego said and it was clearly a cop-out answer.

Kim was tempted to push the issue, but they arrived at Trin and Shin's apartment. The door was unlocked, as they were expected and no one wanted to worry about having to fix the lock if Shego decided to pick it instead of ringing the doorbell. Inside, they found Tatsu sitting on the couch, clutching a book bag as if it were a protective teddy bear. They sat down across from her in one of the armchairs.

"Where are the evil twins?" Shego asked and then a loud crashing noise was heard from Shin's room. "Never mind."

"Tatsu, are you all right? You look a little sick," Kim noted.

"Fine," the mechanic mumbled before burying her face in her bag to have an excuse not to talk anymore.

"You don't look fine. You want to talk about?" Kim asked in a kind and concerned voice.

Tatsu shook her head. Shego studied her for a moment before she came up with something. "She probably already talked about it with blondie, Princess. Whatever's wrong with her has probably been talked to death," the older woman remarked.

"Fuck you," Tatsu grumbled, snarling at Shego. The former thief only grinned.

The trio was not able start any sort of conversation before Shin's screaming drowned out most sound. They were rather certain that they could hear the distinct sound of steel against steel. It would not surprise them if Trin and Shin were seriously fighting in the room. They found out that was the case only seconds later when Shin fell out of the room, stumbled to the floor, and a duffel bag landed on top of his chest. Trin then stepped out, her hair a mess, and a Japanese sword in her hand.

"Next time I tell you to fucking move, you do it," the blond spoke down to her fallen friend. She then stepped over Shin, almost as if he was not even there. Turning to the trio, she brushed her hair back. "Please, ladies, give me a few minutes and I'll be ready to go," she informed them before walking off to her bedroom.

"Shin, you still alive?" Shego called with a laugh.

"Shut up," Shin growled, picking him up only to fling himself onto the closest armchair.

"Why is that pink puff manhandling you on this holiest of holy days before Christmas?" Shego inquired, amusement gleaming in her eyes.

"Fucking shrew!" Shin snarled.

"He tried to escape," Tatsu supplied as to why Shin was getting what he deserved.

"What for? Didn't Trin already beat into your head that you're going? You know once she tells you something, that's it," Kim reminded the fuming young man.

"It's not fair! You guys all get to be with your lovers on Christmas! I wanna be with mine!" Shin whined loudly.

"You weren't invited! Stop trying to ruin people's family time with your selfishness!" Trin hollered.

"She's right, you know, Shin. It would be awful for you to go there and Booker's mother doesn't want you there. You were supposed to make a good first impression this summer. Why didn't you just do that?" Kim asked in a curious tone. Shin had really screwed himself up over the summer by failing to turn himself down a notch when meeting his boyfriend's mother.

"I tried!" Shin insisted.

"You obviously didn't try hard enough and do you really think that you'll win any points by showing up on Christmas uninvited?" Kim inquired incredulously.

"You must really be some kind of moron," Shego added in.

"I wanted to make up for things…" Shin grumbled frowning deeply. Honestly, he wanted to go to Booker and show that he could behave himself and that he could be the perfect gentleman. He was just so overwhelmed in the summer that he had accidentally let it show. He was sure that if he could just go, he could make everything right.

"Right now, until you can work things out with Booker on how you should act with his mother, I don't think you should drop in unannounced for any holiday gatherings. Think of it this way, Trin is saving you from yourself because you're not thinking clearly," Kim explained.

"Or at all," Tatsu muttered.

"Seconded," Shego concurred.

Shin pouted, upset that all four ladies were against him. Damn it, usually at least Shego was on his side! He did not say anything in his defense, but as the quiet settled in and he thought on things, he considered that they might have a point. He thought that he would be able to go see Booker and make everything all right, but then again, over the summer he had assumed that he could be on his best behavior. Now, he had not been his usual over-the-top self, but he had still been enough for Booker's mother to request that Booker not bring him around anymore. It would not be a good idea to start making amends by coming around her when she did not even invite him. He liked to believe that he could have made things right somehow, though. But, then again, he realized that he did not even have a plan to make things right. It was as if he thought just showing up would magically make things good.

"All right. I am ready," Trin announced as she reentered the room, her hair fresh and her face perfect. Nothing was out of her place with her pink slacks and yellow shirt. It would be hard to believe that she had just had a sword fight.

"Everybody got everything?" Kim asked as she stood. The others followed. They were all ready to go.

-8-8-8-8-

Next time: the group arrives in Middleton and parents follow right behind them.