Shego stepped into the pub wearing her green leather jacket over her catsuit. It's not that she was hiding who she was, or that it was cold outside; she just needed something to suggest she wasn't on the clock. Her gaze went from person to person, ignoring the stares, until she found who she was looking for, sitting at the bar.
"Same again," he told the barman as she silently came up behind him and bored into the back of his head with a stare. He watched as the alcoholic portion of his drink was poured, then sighed. "I'm retired," he grumbled.
Shego smirked. His back may have been facing the door, but his instincts were still sharp. "Doesn't mean you can't buy a girl a drink," she retorted.
His head turned slightly, not quite enough to see her from the corner of his eye. "As I recall," he began grudgingly, "I owe you two shots. You gonna stand still for the first?"
"As long as you buy the second."
"And a glass of the best rum you've got," he told the barman as his refill was delivered, before smoothly twisting off his barstool and punching Shego in the mouth.
The villainess had to take two steps back to keep from toppling from the hit. The pub quieted a moment. Her attacker returned to his previous position. After licking the front of her teeth, she stepped forward and took the barstool beside him.
"Hard to believe you've retired if you're still that angry," she opined, waving off the barman's dubious look as he placed the rum before her.
"Oh, I'm still angry. I've just gotten bitter in my old age."
"You're not that old." Shego meant it, but looking more carefully at his profile now, she could see time was beginning to take its toll. His hair was a tough lighter with a more pronounced widow's peak, the soul patch of his beard completely white; there were bags under his eyes and his forehead bore the beginnings of a permanent crease.
"I'm not much older than you," he countered after a swig. "Not long before you start wrinkling, especially with all the time you like to spend in the sun."
The green girl bit back a vehement reply, taking a long sip of her rum instead, waiting for him to continue.
"You know most of the things I've done. Has any of it changed the world? Made it a better - or worse - place?"
Shego shrugged. "I know people would argue either way."
"And who would they be?" he grumbled. "Only the ones my actions have affected personally. Even altruim is an exercise in selfishness. Wealthy or poor, people contribute or champion causes they have a personal connection to; assuming they don't do it just to feel better about themselves. Nothing I've done has made a difference to all humanity. You've been on both sides of the fence yourself, and what have you accomplished?"
"Hey, I just work for a mad scientist bent on world domination. Changing the world has never been my purpose in life. You tried, in more ways than one. Even you can't see generations ahead. Your actions may eventually inspire someone, something..."
"If so, I won't be there to see it."
"So you'd rather quit then step up."
"Touche," he conceded, raising his glass to her. She followed suit, and they drank together. "I've simply come to the conclusion that I'm better off staying out of history's way," he added afterwards. "Speaking of, aren't you wanted in this country?"
"Meh. They've probably given up on me by now."
"You stole the crown jewels."
"Just the imperial state crown. They go through so many... and gold isn't my colour, anyway."
Her drinking buddy shook his head with a sigh. "Why are you here, Shego?"
Shego took a big gulp of her rum before answering. "Well... there's this girl..."
For the first time in the conversation, he looked straight at her, causing her to falter for a moment.
"Uh... you ever hear of Kim Possible?"
His turn to shrug. "Jailbait redhead playing hero. Gods know what her parents are thinking. You've crossed paths, I take it."
"Yeah, and... she's proving surprisingly capable."
"Translation: she kicks your ass on a regular basis."
Again, Shego nearly took the bait. "That... depends on your definition," she angrily admitted through clenched teeth, causing him to smirk.
"So, are you stepping up?" he asked.
"I have been. I haven't gone toe to toe with just one person in a long time. She's had training in several styles of kung fu, and she's a damn cheerleader on top. The way she fights is damn peculiar, but effective. The thing is, she's improving too, and... when it comes down to it, I've..." she broke off with a sigh and finished her rum.
"You've started enjoying, and looking forward to, the fights," he finished for her. "It's harder to get angry with someone you respect, and if you don't get angry, you have difficulty with the glow."
"Yeah," Shego admitted. A part of her was still creeped out when he did that, even though he knew her well enough to make such conclusions without his... talent.
"You don't light up at the start of the fight anymore. And when you do, it's frustration, not anger, that gets it going. And sometimes, you just can't keep it up."
"Hey! No penis metaphors, thank you."
He ignored the interruption, his eyes unfocused as he continued. "You're surprised you don't mind avoiding causing her serious injury. Truth is, you haven't tried to kill her in a while. If anyone takes her out of the game, it should be you... but when it comes down to it, you'd miss her." A frown. "But it's only a matter of time. One of you will slip, eventually. She'll remind you too much of what you could have been, or she'll get a taste of what she could be... and then things will start to change..." he blinked, refocused, then looked Shego in the eye. "She sounds like an extraordinary girl."
Shego tried not to blush at the inference, failed miserably, and ordered another rum.