The Hitchhiker 2: Born to Run, by Adam Leigh
Based on characters and situations from Disney's Kim Possible.
*** KP – KP – KP ***
1. She's The One
I haven't been writing in this recently. I'm just not as committed to it as Princess is. What am I going to say? 'Another day passed. We talked about stupid things, dropped off some boxes in Boise, laughed at other drivers, oh, and Kim still hasn't answered me.'
I guess that last one is the stinger, and is why I don't like putting word after word in this book. 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 – a fact she still doesn't know about and I'd like to keep that way – 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. I should just give up on her and figure out how to be the best friend she's ever had, so at least I don't ever have to be apart from her.
But why wouldn't she answer? Does she not know? Is she considering it? If I gave up and she changed her mind, would I go back on my decision?
Oh, who am I kidding, I would in a heartbeat.
*** KP – KP – KP ***
Shego started gearing down as they drove up to an exit on the highway passing through Colorado. She checked her mirrors and pulled the rig onto the off ramp down to the town road.
"What's up?" said Kim from the back of the cab. She was lying on her stomach on the bed, idly kicking her legs back and forth as she read a thick book. It was something Shego had bought for her a week or so ago while they were stopped at a rest area. There was a small rack of harlequin novels on a spinning shelf that Kim was looking through while Shego was buying sandwiches. At the last minute, Shego pulled a book out of Kim's hand and added it to the order.
"Stopping for gas again," said Shego as she turned onto the road. "We've been going for a while now."
Kim stretched and yawned, then closed the book. "Already? It seemed to go by so fast."
"That's because you've got your nose shoved into the spine of that book," said Shego. "Which you absolute will not spoil for me before I get a chance to read it."
Kim leapt gracefully over the back of the passenger chair and settled into it. "Seriously?" she said in disbelief. "It's a cheeky romance novel." She pointed at the two people on the cover. "This guy ends up with this girl. They have sex. There, that's the plot of the book."
Shego shook her head. "I get so few pleasures in this job, and you go and steal them from me."
"Oh, I know that's not true," Kim said teasingly.
Shego looked at her with a half smile and Kim gestured towards the back of the truck. In an ideal world, Shego thought, she'd be referencing the bed they alternated sleeping in, but here, in this frustrating world, she knew Kim meant the bike. Shego's beloved Kawasaki Triple.
"Speaking of which, I'm getting cabin fever here," said Shego. "We're going to need to take a detour to Indiana."
"Indiana?" asked Kim.
"Yeah. Excellent road racing in Indianapolis."
"I thought they were known for formula one races," said Kim.
"Yeah, for like, one event a year," said Shego. "What, did you think the speedway was empty the rest of the 364 days on the calendar?"
Kim shrugged. "I guess I never put any thought into it."
"You should," said Shego. She eyed Kim expectantly. "In fact, you really should. I'd bet with your reflexes and balance you'd be an excellent racer."
"Really?" asked Kim. "You want me to get into superbike as well?"
"Well, why not? You need to do something," said Shego. "Reading my books and sending off e-mails to physicists every time we stop is hardly filling your day."
"I could use more to do," agreed Kim. She thought about it. "Nah."
"What? Why not?"
Kim turned in her seat to face Shego directly. "I really appreciate the offer, but I know that racing is not a cheap hobby. I don't even have a bike and registering me for races is not bound to be done on spare change."
"Princess, you know I'll—"
"I do know that," Kim interrupted. "And that's part of the problem. I already feel guilty that you're essentially taking care of me. I'm not going to take up more of your money."
"Don't worry about that," Shego said. "I've got the money, Princess. I don't know what to spend it on. I have no debts, no home, no family, nobody else I care about. All I have is you, my baby girl, and my rig. I already shower affection onto the Triple, and the rig gets its share of my salary. Let me spend some on you without a guilt trip."
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 bet you'd love that. Also, see above."
"Hmmm," mused Shego 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." She paused for a moment. "Though maybe not. You probably don't want to attract more attention to yourself. I'm still worried about that Dr. Possible guy. He was a real psycho."
"So you've said," said Kim. "Repeatedly."
"The truth should be widely spread," said Shego. "Also, I don't want you to forget."
Kim smiled and shook her head. "I'm not going to forget, Shego."
"Good." Shego nodded once to herself. "So, what were we talking about?"
"You were trying to get me to be a stripper," said Kim, impishly.
"Oh, right, you should do that," said Shego. "Do you need a stripper name? I can help you out. How about Roxy Red? Candy Cub? Pumpkin doesn't really seem like a sexy stripper's name. And Carrot Top absolutely isn't."
Kim laughed. "I can't just use Princess?"
"No. That's my name for you," said Shego. "Other people don't get to use it. They'll get it all dirty. Yuk."
Kim chuckled and then smiled warmly at Shego. The trucker blushed slightly in response and then quickly bit her tongue for feeling so girlish. "I have no idea what it is about you," she said, exasperated.
"What?" Kim asked. She looked startled.
"Nothing, nothing," Shego waved her off casually. "So, stripper's out, I suppose."
"Lets put it as an alternate option #100 and work on a primary #1," said Kim.
"Your loss," said Shego with a shrug, even though she knew it was entirely the opposite. "So that leaves the internet. Are you actually any good at writing?"
"I'm not bad," said Kim. "I certainly never had any trouble with English class that wasn't otherwise the result of suddenly up and leaving to fight a criminal."
Shego chuckled. "Well, that's certainly something. Maybe you can look around for any news sites that are looking for freelance writers."
"I'm not really all that connected to current events," said Kim.
"That doesn't matter," said Shego. "You'd probably be assigned stories and you'd just have to search around the internet and make phone calls or something." She looked up and away and was clearly searching her memories. "I was interviewed for a piece once... a racing mag. Guy had no idea who I was and thought I didn't notice him reciting parts of my published bio. Real idiot that guy was. If you can do better than him, you should be a shoe in."
Kim put a finger to her jaw and her smile grew larger. "Maybe you should be racing more," she said.
"I don't see how that helps," said Shego.
"I could be like a publicist or an agent for you," said Kim. "Deal with the 'real idiots' as you say."
"I'm not that big," said Shego, dismissively.
"But could you be?" asked Kim.
Shego shrugged. "I dunno, I suppose? I'm certainly more together than the stoners in the underground racing scene." She grimaced. "It's just a lot of work. Painfully boring work."
"Which I could do for you," said Kim. "I mean, honestly, I know you like the solitude of the drive – god knows why you decided to bring me on board given that—"
Shego could think of a few reasons.
"—But does it really make you happy? Aren't you more alive while racing?"
Shego looked at Kim, plainly. "I don't know. Maybe?"
"Shouldn't be a hard question," pointed out Kim.
"It is! It's one of those loaded career questions. I hate being asked about this stuff. Can't I just pick once and be done with it?"
"Sure," said Kim. "You don't have to change. You just have to tell me that you would be happier continuing to drive trucks around the country than racing full time."
"Princess, I own my own rig," Shego said. "I can't just dump all this and throw it into some new whim."
"That's not what I'm asking," said Kim. "I'm not asking what easy, I'm asking what you love."
Shego stared. "I love..." she trailed off, staring at Kim. Kim's eyes went wide in return and she suddenly looked panicked, like she'd just realized she'd backed into a trap.
"Racing," Shego finished. "I mean, trucking is a job, it pays the bills, and I don't have to think about it. But my heart has always been in racing. But, Princess, I'm damn near thirty. I can't get into it now."
"You're still adding things that aren't part of this discussion," said Kim. "It's not about ease, it's about what you want. And if racing is what you want, and the only things holding you back are the burdens of your prior choices, well, then that gives me something to tackle."
"You can't fix my life," said Shego forcefully.
"I'm not trying to fix it," said Kim. "I'm trying to enrich it."
Shego eyed her suspiciously. Sometimes she wondered if she had actually made the right choice three months ago, standing in that office at Caltech.
"No making any decisions for me," Shego waved a finger at Kim. "If you want to waste your time researching, be my guest, but don't you dare tell anyone you're representing me without my permission."
Kim smiled and held her hands up. "Of course, I wouldn't dream of it."
Shego looked at Kim's way-too-pleased-with-myself grin and felt uncomfortable in her stomach.
"Bah!" Shego spouted and then headed towards the convenience store.
*** KP – KP – KP ***
This is really getting out of control. It's like I have no reign over her. I tell her things, she suddenly makes up her mind to do something else, and now I'M the one doing what SHE wants. It's not a healthy relationship, even for friends, I'm utterly beholden to her.
What the hell happened to me? I never used to take crap from anyone.
Okay, that's kind of a lie, and it's not like she's wrong. I mean, I do love racing, possibly more than anything else. I don't know if I love the 'sport' of racing, though. It's all bull these days, regulations and sponsors and restricted moves and advertising. Why can't professional racing be as simple as illegal street racing? We come to an agreed upon spot, line up quick enough that nobody can call the cops in time, and then launch ourselves into the circuit. If you make it back first, you win, and second place is the first loser. End of story.
Couldn't sell very many commercials on a race like that I guess, which is really what irritates the hell out of me. Why are sports now obligated to bend to marking whims? It's a competition! The only things that matter are the rules that make it so nobody has an unfair advantage so it's all a matter of skill. You know, the sorts of things where my damn near godlike talent bring me an easy victory.
I can't give up trucking, it's my life. My bread and butter, as the geezers say. Racing is just a hobby. If I had to do it to get a paycheck all these things that irritate me would become all I think about.
There, see? Why can't I say THAT when the Princess throws these things at me? Instead of looking stupid and walking off as if I'm a four-year-old told she can only have ONE cookie?
*** KP – KP – KP ***
"Okay," Kim said the second that her door was closed and they were pulling away from the rest area. "This is what I found out."
It was late at night now. They had just finished their stop for Shego's mandatory break to avoid violating trucking regulations even though she wouldn't need sleep for another twenty hours or so. Kim had strangely vanished during that time, leaving with her face glued to a pre-paid phone with data that Shego had picked up at the girl's behest. She's showed up magically at the time they needed to leave and had a smile on her face as large as the sky is wide.
"Jesus, Princess," said Shego. "Let me get her into gear first."
"You don't have to do anything but listen and then nod your head when I tell you to," said Kim, showing a toothy grin.
"God, this isn't going to go well," said Shego, prophetically.
"There are lots of MotoGP races going on, but the problem is that your bike is a 500cc two-stroke, which doesn't really compete anymore at that class," said Kim. "In fact, none of the Grand Prix classes include 500cc anymore, so you'll probably have to use a different bike if you don't want to be outclassed by larger engines."
"My baby girl isn't 500cc," said Shego, simply.
"It isn't?" asked Kim. She looked at her notes. "The 1973 Kawasaki Triple was—"
"I told you, you can't get power from stock," said Shego. "Besides, when I got her, she was essentially a frame with wheels, I replaced nearly everything." She squinted slightly and looked up and to the side. "And I think you're looking at the H1, my girl was originally the H2A which was 750cc. Still, none of the original stats apply."
"So what is she?" asked Kim.
"800cc displacement," said Shego. "Two-stroke still, but with my mods, she'll go toe to toe with her much bigger brothers." She smiled, then caught herself. "I mean, if I was thinking about pro racing, which I'm not. Besides, I doubt they'd let her in, there are strict rules on configuration in the MotoGP, as well as Superbike. It'd be considered cheating."
"Really?" asked Kim.
"Of course there are," said Shego. "What if I'd stuck in a nitro canister, or an active fuel coolant without telling anyone. I could easily be in a class by myself and those races are about skill, not mechanical genius."
"Oh," said Kim. She looked at her notes and then the phone. She appeared depressed.
"Come on," said Shego. "Did you think in a couple of hours you were going to learn all the details about professional racing? Don't get that way."
"I want to help you reach your dream!" pleased Kim.
"Don't be silly," said Shego, shaking her head. "I'm not miserable. I like my job, and I like my hobby. Why do I have swap them?"
"I just... I thought I could help," said Kim.
Shego sighed. She turned to Kim and spoke softly. "You are helping."
"How? By spending your money and reading your books?" asked Kim, curtly.
"By being here, okay?" said Shego. "I... I like the company. I like being with you. I like... you."
Kim looked at her with a sad expression. "I want to give you what you want, but I just... I don't think I can."
Shego tried not to feel hurt. "It's okay. You think you're the only straight girl I've ever fallen for?"
Kim looked at her lap and shook her head. "You'll tell me, right? If it's uncomfortable? I don't want to make you uncomfortable. I know what it's like not be able to have what you want and it can make you... bitter."
"You have experience there?" asked Shego, a little surprised.
Kim nodded. "I told you Ron was my boyfriend."
Shego did a full body shiver, but tried to hide it by shaking her head vigorously. "Don't remind me."
"Well, he wasn't by the time I... when I woke up," said Kim. She looked out the window. "We had different paths in life, and he couldn't tag along as my sidekick forever. I went to Paris for college mostly to put some distance between us."
"Different paths, huh?" said Shego. "He didn't like being second best?"
"Oh, no, not at all," said Kim. "I mean, at least he never told me if he did."
"So, what?" asked Shego.
"It's complicated," Kim said. "He was invaluable to me as a sidekick but never really put much of his time into other things, like his classes, or any hobbies. He was a pretty good running back, but, well, that limited his options for college."
"When it came time for applications," said Kim. "I think he kind of figured it out and had applied almost everywhere in the world to maximize his options for following me. But... well, it was too little, too late to start putting in effort."
"So what were you studying in Paris?" asked Shego.
"Me? International law. Not really something Ron could work up the prerequisites for." Kim awkwardly gestured with her hands. "It didn't matter, though. Fighting evil with me was one thing, but Ron wasn't really prepared to give up his entire life to criminal justice like I was. He wanted to pursue other things, like video game design, and media management."
"Media management?" asked Shego. "Is that like... organizing your DVDs or something?"
Kim made a partial smile. "Its things like being a manager for a movie star or a producer for a TV series."
"Ah," said Shego. "Sort of like what you just proposed to me."
"Er..." Kim stammered.
"So, where did he end up?" Shego asked.
"Colorado Tech," said Kim. "Not too far from Middleton, so he could commute if he needed to. He still helped me when there was a mission, but from what he told me ... well, I think he found his groove there." She shrugged. "Who knows now."
"So he ended it?" asked Shego.
Kim nodded. "So I left." Her shoulders slumped. "I know it's not very heroic. But I didn't really like the reminder. We tried to go back to being friends, but..."
Shego looked at the expression on her companion and felt the clench in her heart. She reached out and took her hand. "I want you around," she said. "It's not uncomfortable at all."
*** KP – KP – KP ***
I'm a liar.
How has this happened to me? I'm Sharon Hedge! The Green Streak! I make chump crotch-rocket racers quiver in their boots. I haul longer and faster than anyone in the US. I am unstoppable.
And I'm so desperately in love with this crazy girl that I can't breathe.
The only thought that scares me more than this is the idea that she might leave if I told her.
She can never know. NEVER. I shouldn't even be writing about this. I need to burn this book when I'm done.
*** End One
A/N: I hope everyone who liked TheHitchhiker has found this. I wish there was a mechanism for associating stories in FFNet so that sequels could be linked together and send notifications when a sequel is posted. I certainly would love it and I'm sure others would as well. Why hasn't such a simple concept hasn't been developed.
Anyway, this is the next installment in my (increasingly inaccurately named) The Hitchhiker series. This is set a few months after the end of The Hitchhiker, and follows Kim and Shego's adventures. I know some of you were expecting to see Kim and Shego on the run from the law, but that's not the direction we're going here. While Dr. Possible may be trying to alert the authorities, he never heard Shego's real name, nor the full name that Kim was going under, and even if he got a look at Shego's bike, it's typically hidden in her truck and not in plain sight. Ultimately, what I'm saying here is that Dr. Possible simply doesn't have enough information to get the police moving to track down Shego so he's not currently being treated as a credible threat.
Next we have some new characters joining us that will be recurring throughout this story. They're from another series that I turn to when I need characters. Though I've suitable altered them to fit the Hitchhiker universe.
Thanks for reading!