8. The Band Just Played On

Day 374

I had a dream last night.

In it, I was floating in this massive space, in orbit of a giant glowing ball of light with smaller motes of light circling it as well. It looked like a massive atom, as big as a planet. I was just marveling at the sight when all of a sudden I found myself standing on a road made of bright blue-white light. The road extended all the way to the nucleus of the atom and the orbiting lights seemed to just miss hitting the road each time.

I was standing there, staring, when a young girl came up to me. She was short, with long brown hair tied in a pony-tail and wearing a uniform colored in black and gray with a green trim. She looked familiar, although I can't say why. She introduced herself to me as 'Fayt.'

"Kim," she said to me. "The worlds are collapsing back into themselves once more. Thanks to other versions of you and Shego the damage done by Athena is being repaired and people who have been lost in the infinite worlds are being fed back into the Possibility Engine once more."

I told her I had no idea what she was talking about and she said it didn't matter.

"I'm here to offer you a choice," she said. "You fell out of your home world and landed in a new one where you created new connections and established a new paradigm. I can take you back to your home world, or I can leave you to your new one. But I warn you, once you make your choice the walls between worlds will rise once more and truths will rework themselves to match."

I asked her what she meant by Truths changing.

"There is no such thing as real truth, Kim, only perception. The universe is guided by Possibilities, endlessly reworked into new scenarios and lived out by those who see them as reality. Once you give yourself over to a Possibility, it can be hard to break loose again. It is both daunting and inspiring because nothing is forbidden if we can think it, but nothing can be stopped if it can be dreamed."

The girl gently touched my forehead and it felt warm. "This was only one event in the endlessly changing void. Some day there will be another. On that day, I or someone else may come back here to offer you the choice again."

She closed her eyes and whispered something I couldn't hear. Then, when her eyes opened again, they were glowing green. She said, "So, Kim, on this day, what is your choice? Return to your old world, or continue in this new one with Shego?"

And I said-

*** KP – KP – KP ***

Kim paused in her writing and looked up. Shego was driving, it was early morning, and they were on a road that looked over a cliff leading to the open sea.

"Where are we?" asked Kim.

"US 1," said Shego. "It's a state highway that heads up the coastline. It's not quite the quickest way to Oregon, but, it's... well..."

"Beautiful," said Kim looking out at waves, reflecting the reddish sunrise coming up over the ridge on the other side of the road.

"Yeah," said Shego, looking back at Kim with a half smile. Her eyes seemed red around the edges, for some reason. "Exactly."

Kim dropped her diary absently onto the bed and moved to sit in the passenger seat. "There are barely any cars," she noted.

"We're far enough away from the major cities that we're less affected by traffic," said Shego. "It'll probably get worse soon as the day drags on."

Kim looked out on the highway and it seemed like they were the only vehicle on it, driving alone, along the sea, beside the sunrise.

"Do you like me?" asked Shego.

Kim blinked at the sudden question. "What do you mean?"

"I... I mean, I get it that you're not into girls," said Shego awkwardly. She almost seemed to be blushing, but that would have been so out of character Kim assumed it must have been something else. "Which is... you know, disappointing. But, I mean, as a person – as a close friend, I mean... do you really like me? I mean, would you choose this life, if you had a choice?"

Kim thought about that. "What do you mean by 'this life'?"

"Well, you had a family once," said Shego. "And friends and a whole 'best enemies' dynamic that I don't quite get. But you had something there, something you remember. And now you're, well, you're just roaming the country - with me at the moment - and looking for something you're not sure exists. It's not much of a choice."

Kim considered the question and slowly a smile grew over her face. It was a warm smile. Content. "I'll tell you something that my Nana once said to me," said Kim. "'Life is what happens while you're waiting for a better option.'" She looked past Shego at the ocean stretching towards the horizon. "You have to have a goal, I think, because otherwise you sit still and nothing happens to you. But it's a bad idea to think your current goal is the point of your life, because that goal is just a direction and your life is about living the journey."

Kim settled her hands on her lap and looked at them. "I don't know if my goal is real anymore, but it's really not that important. And given the opportunity, between heading in that direction with you or going back to a world that doesn't really need me anymore... well, I think I'd stay with you."

Shego started blinking frequently and found it hard to swallow. She sniffled once and then, with a burst of contained air, she said, "Thanks." She then smiled, weakly, as her eyes watered.

"Was that what you wanted to hear?" asked Kim with her glowing smile.

"Yeah, it was," said Shego. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand and focused on the road ahead of her. "Gah! Stupid ... uh, allergies."

"Right," said Kim. "I get them sometimes too."

"Always at the worst times," said Shego, through a sniffle.

Kim looked towards the sunrise. "And the best ones."

*** End.

Kim and Shego will return in: The Hitchhiker 2: Born To Run!

*** KP – KP – KP ***

A/N: I have left things here with no answer to the question. Kim is either insane or she's from another dimension and I have left evidence of both claims as well as flaws in both stories. The real question I was asking here was about personality and integrity. Is Shego still SHEGO even if she's not a criminal and doesn't have her plasma powers? Is Kim still KIM if she only remembers her heroics and the rest of the world doesn't? In Chapter 7, Shego says to Dr. Possible that memories are who we are, and I believe that. We can't ever trust what we recall, as we know from Decartes, but who we are, our behaviors, are inextricably linked to our memories.

So it doesn't matter, in my mind, if Kim is crazy or from another reality. She's still Kim Possible, and that's the answer Shego comes to as well, which is why she goes out of her way to rescue the girl she's come to like, despite being rejected by said girl.

This has been yet another exploration of the dynamic between Kim and Shego, the hero and the villain that don't quite hate each other as they should and, under other circumstances, might be friends. I have drawn inspiration from many sources in the creation of this tale, most notably the abbreviated writing style of Sobriety (and King in Yellow) as well as heavy initial characterization from Walking the Line, by StarvingLunatic. During the editing process, this story has evolved in a direction that I liked and which stepped away a bit from what I borrowed from those writers.

Shego, in this story, is a wounded soul, from events that have not yet been described in full and won't be until Hitchhiker 3: The Longest Journey; which I'm currently developing alongside Hitchhiker 2. We don't always get the full story behind the people we know, even our loved ones, until long after we have come to know them. I hope you will not mind the slow path towards unpeeling the onion that is Shego and Kim in this story.

Will Kim and Shego get together? I don't want to say anything at this time. It's not a simple matter, and it will not be benefited by me exposing my biases. Love is a strange thing, and I hate that people associate it with sex when those are separate concepts. You can have sex with someone you don't love, and you can love someone you don't want to have sex with. Whether those things apply here will be revealed in time.

Fayt, and references to Athena are from the unwritten conclusion to Possibility Engine, one of my larger tales. I know what happens in the end of PE, just as I know what happens in the end of Apocolocyntosis, but it takes me a hell of a time to get there. I'm just too picky. I've thrown out probably a quarter million words of text by now that I just one day decided I was unhappy with.

Thanks for coming with me on this journey. I appreciate all of your feedback and kind words.

Preview for Hitchhiker 2:

I asked her again, I think about three weeks ago, about her feelings towards me and she again did not respond. I don't know why she wouldn't simply say 'No' and get it over with. I've read her diaries once and I know she's said many times she's straight, but I thought, well, given everything that's happened, just to be sure, I would ask her.

That was months ago now. She refuses to answer me. It's the most aggravating thing in the world! I try not to think about it on most days, but sometimes, her hair catches the sun just right and makes a bloom that catches my breath. She's gorgeous. I'm obsessed with her. I have no idea how I became so pathetic.

*** KP – KP – KP ***

Kim shook her head. "It's not right," she said firmly. "I need to find a way to contribute or I'll never feel comfortable with this."

Shego pulled the rig into a trucker friendly gas station and put on the brake. "Well, you're not going to make any money through racing if you can't do it full time." She pulled out her folio of receipts and climbed out of the cab. Kim followed suit to continue the conversation. "Given where we go, I only see three possibilities for a career for you. One: creating some craft to sell when we hit cities."

"Blah," said Kim. "I'm not that good with my hands."

"Two: become a part time stripper."

"Right," said Kim. "I'd be you'd love that. Also, see above."

"Mmmm," Shego savored that thought for a moment. "And three: something on the internet."

"The internet?" said Kim.

"I assume you'll let me buy you a laptop, but you could look for a writing job or something to do with a website," said Shego as she opened the cap on her gas tank. "Something you could do from anywhere and while we're driving." She pulled out one of the nozzles and began filling the tank with diesel.

"What could I write about?" asked Kim, she was clearly intrigued but still confused. "I'm not really an expert on anything."

"Well, maybe you could make a blog or something," said Shego. "If you're entertaining enough you could make money off it. You certainly spend enough of your time writing in your diaries."

"Who would want to read my aimless thoughts every day?" asked Kim, with a raised eyebrow.

"You'd be surprised," said Shego. "The internet is a strange place."

*** KP – KP – KP ***

Kim Possible, Shego, Wade, Bonnie, Drakken, Ron Stoppable, Dr. Possible, and the town of Middleton are all from Disney's Kim Possible. Lawrence Fletcher is from Disney's Phineas and Ferb. All characters and situations are presented in a modified format inspired by their original published appearances.

All locations mentioned by name, except Middleton and the Point Cross building, are real but descriptions may be inaccurate. Additional information was obtained from Wikipedia, the Las Vegas Speedway website, the AMA Pro Racing website, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.

I know almost nothing about long or short haul trucking, and made almost everything up. Forgive me. :)

While Adenosine is the chemical in the human brain that triggers tiredness, Adenosine Immunity is not a real condition. The symptoms Shego describes are fictional and should not be considered a medical diagnosis.

If you enjoyed this story please check out my other Kim Possible works at Fanfiction dot net under the username TempestDash. My opinions about television, movies, video games, and life in general are also available on my blog at rogue-penguin dot com.