DISCLAIMER: Nothing belongs to me if you've seen it on TV. Soundtrack: Hybrid Child and Trouble with Machines by District 97.
Once again, they were in the Sloth, surrounded by darkness, far from interruptions. Spending their final moments together discussing their future apart.
"Is it safe for you to go, KP? I thought their planet was under attack," Ron grumbled. "By the Septenant."
"Not the Septenant. Mom was wrong. A magnetic lifeform. Something new."
"I guess space is full of new."
She nodded. "We - they drove them off with field dispel grids."
"Field – what?"
"Something the Wisest came up with." It was her destiny, she knew, to be counted among the Wisest. And more. It seemed like every day new powers were added to her arsenal. "Ron, you do understand why I have to do this, don't you? I have to learn to use these powers, and they're the only ones who can teach me."
He answered lightly, denying his feelings. "Hey, I'm the Mystical Monkey Master, remember. I study at Yamanouchi. Not because I want to. Because I have to. I know just exactly why you have to go." Not that it makes it any easier. "We didn't ask for this, but we got it just the same. Now we've got to learn to live with it."
"You don't have to wait for me," she told him. "I don't know how long this is going to take. If you find someone else, I'll -" She fought back the tears. Tears would ruin everything just now. Somehow she found the strength to continue. "I'll understand. You - you have to get on with living, Ron. I don't want to - to hold you back-"
"KP, I've told you before, there'll never be anyone else. I know what you're thinking. Twenty, thirty years is just a short moment for you. It could be the biggest part of my life."
She nodded, unable to find words.
"I've been thinking about this, too. A lot. Sensei's very, very old, and his power level's less than mine." I have the power, but he has the wisdom. Like the wise women of Hydraia. Sure wish I had some of that wisdom now. "Your healing aura -"
"Retro-metabolism." The word was no longer a scourge to her.
"It's the same colour as the ch'i of my Mystical Monkey Power. Maybe it's just, I don't know, a variation on the same theme. Maybe both of us are going to live a very long time."
"You can't count on that!"
"You can't count on anything in life. Except the living of it. You told me that."
"But it's different for you. You need to -"
"I don't need to do anything. Anything but wait for you. We'll see each other again. This isn't the finish. " He sealed his covenant with a gentle kiss.
Unexpectedly she clung to him and made it more.
Some time later he broke the silence. "I guess - I guess we'd better get back. The ship will be here soon."
"Yeah." A nervous laugh. "Soonest there, soonest home." She turned the key in the ignition.
The Sloth shot forward through the liquid darkness, bursting from the ocean depths and into the sky without pause. The Tweebs' aquatic modifications to the little vehicle were just as effective as all the other alterations they had made to the car. Sometimes Kim wondered if her brothers' incredible scientific talent was due to their hybrid heritage. If so, they were the first males to ever inherit a gift. Another unexpected bequest to the children of two planets.
Or maybe they simply took after their father.
Her musings were interrupted by the startling white glare that engulfed them.
There was terror in Ron's eyes. "Lightning?"
"No!" Kim recognized it from her father's experiments. "It's an induction beam!" The Sloth shook in its influence, nuts and bolts flying, windows cracking as the frame around them warped, the engines' muffled roar coughing, sputtering. Air whistled from the pressurized interior as the little car plummeted out of the clouds, barely able to stay aloft.
A green and black jet howled past them, a beam generator crudely bolted to its side; its pilot favored them with a wicked smile.
"Shego?" Ron cried. "Why?"
"Wade," Kim barked into the Kimmunicator, "I need a place to land, fast. The Sloth's compromised. I can't put it in the water."
The computer genius looked a bit groggy, as if he'd been unexpectedly awakened; regardless, he immediately began a computer search. " Why are you in the middle of the Pacific, anyway?"
"Long story." The jet was coming back around; she knew they couldn't take another blast. "What have you got?"
"There's nothing out there. You're practically at the pole of inaccessibility."
Ron had opened the sunroof, was climbing out to precariously balance on top the vehicle.
Kim glanced over at the empty seat in something between surprise and panic. "What are you doing?"
He didn't answer her. I levitated Lorwardian attack pods, he thought, watching the jet shriek toward them, a white sphere of energy beginning to form around the beam generator. The ocean was a mere hundred feet below. This can't be that much more difficult. The Sloth suddenly lurched to one side; only Mystical Monkey Power allowed Ron to keep his footing.
"Sorry!" came the cry from within.
He had no chance to answer; this was the moment of truth. Time seemed to slow around him; he saw the induction beam moving toward them as if through jelly, the ocean below them frozen. He closed his eyes, lifted his arms, reached out to the glassy ocean waters with the full power of tai sheng pek kwar.
To Kim, it happened in a split second; she saw the beam fire in her rear view mirror, and then suddenly a wall of water rose up behind them, becoming brilliantly glowing steam as it intercepted and absorbed the destructive force. The jet veered off, barely avoiding the waterspout.
As Ron climbed back into the Sloth, the Kimmunicator bleeped. "Kim, I've found somewhere you can land. An island. 47°9′S, 126°43′W."
"I thought you said there was nothing out here."
"There shouldn't be. Weird things happen in that part of the Pacific."
The jet had disappeared in the clouds above. "I'll say."
Drakken woke with a groan and looked frantically about, not entirely sure where he was. The lair, of course. Where else would he be? Everything seemed clouded, unreal, as if he was recovering from a weekend drunk. But that couldn't be, because he didn't drink. Shego did, but just to show off; alcohol had no effect at all on her, of course. She thought it was because of her power, or her constitution, or her strength of will.
He knew it was none of those things.
Thinking about her made his head hurt more, for some reason. He stumbled to the kitchen, got a cupcake from the fridge. The whole Hank's Gourmet Cupcakes caper might have ended in catastrophe long ago, but at least he still had the recipe.
"Shego! We need milk, next time you're out!" No response.
Cheeks puffed with yummy chocolate stuff, he tried to remember the details of his latest diabolical scheme. There must be something, he knew, but nothing would come to mind.
The last thing he could recall was fighting Possible atop a train. Shego had deserted him, like the unpredictable, irrational machine she was, leaving him to his own devices. Actually he'd been doing a pretty good job fighting the cheerleader, until the tunnel came up. Then there was an impact, and everything ended.
And he woke up here, wondering where he was, looking for a snack.
"But that was years ago," he told the empty room. He knew it was years ago, yet his memory told him it was just yesterday. Something was terribly wrong. Maybe he was sick.
Maybe he was losing his mind.
"Shego?" There was still no answer. "Shego! I need you!" Nothing. He swallowed hard, pitched what was left of the suddenly inedible cupcake into the trash. Wherever she was, he'd find her.
As he walked through the lair, a strange display caught his eye. A medal, proudly displayed beneath a glass case, that drew him to it like a moth to the flame. There was nothing engraved on it, no plaque describing it, but somehow he knew it represented a crowning achievement in his life. Something done perfectly, without flaw, without error, without fumble. For the first time ever, a plan had gone amazingly, utterly right.
It had been something worthy of a medal. Something that meant a lot to him, to Shego, to everyone in the world.
Everyone but Dementor. His sinister rival had mocked him about it, he recalled, the memory coming slowly, as if dredged up from some mental tarpit. Closing his eyes, he could hear the little man gloating: "But the irony! As a mad scientist, you have been a total failure your entire career!"
For a microsecond, he saw the evil Bavarian midget as a monster, gigantic, back for revenge. Heard his voice roaring in the secret room, saw him yanking wires loose from the computer hidden there, the mind and heart and soul of his greatest invention, the Synthetic Humanoid Electronic Girl Operative, v.1.0.
He had begged the monster to leave it alone, only to hear "You zhould haff thought of ZHAT before you let it THROW ME FROM ZE ZEPPELIN." More wires were torn free; his wonderful creation dropped to the ground, uncomprehending, somehow believing Drakken was responsible.
Then the memory was flushed as if by force.
But he opened his eyes, and the medal remained.
An grand award for a grand achievement, a miracle cure, a magnificent dream. Not stealing weather machines, or controlling the minds of senior citizens, or ditching Shego for a new sidekick.
An alien sidekick.
A warrior named Warmonga. Who had called him the Great Blue of myth and legend.
Suddenly he was on board the spacecraft, Kim Possible shackled beside him, Warmonga and her battlemate regarding them with amusement and disgust."The blue one who deceived me," said the alien Amazon, " and the girl one who defeated me. Thank you, Warhok."
There had been a battle for the earth. Flowers and vines destroying giant alien battlebots.
Victory. Pardon. Acclaim.
And a medal.
The barriers crumbled.
"Cheese and rice. I was braintapped. Shego braintapped me!" He'd followed Possible's advice and told the robot who she was, what she was. Smarter than her creator, she'd somehow been able to purge her defective memory of the Fearless Ferret episodes that had left her conflicted for years. Then he had been dragged to the brain tap machine while his creation told him what she had to do. What he'd built her to do.
"When you come to, she'll be dead." She had called him Dad. His beautiful daughter, the killing machine. She understood what he had refused to admit to himself. This wasn't about Kim Possible. It never had been. It had all been his desire to avenge himself on Kim's father, the man who had mocked his robot girls back in college. Shego had been born out of that long-simmering cauldron, and now she was finally able to do what he'd wanted. The fact that he no longer wanted or needed it didn't matter.
The medal was for saving the world. I'm finally someone the whole world respects. Someone even Dr. James Possible has to respect.
And his wayward invention was about to destroy it all.
He glanced at the clock. It had been hours. Hours. Who knew if Possible was still alive?
There was one way to find out.
The one-time savior of the world bolted for the secret door.
The little pink vehicle descended among the weedy, still dripping stones. Here and there bizarre deep-sea creatures still flopped and floundered in their death throes. Kim managed to land the car beneath a strangely angular rock outcropping, hidden from view.
Ron surveyed the slimy landscape around them with obvious distaste. "Looks like Atlantis or something. It must have… just risen from the bottom," he muttered.
"And it might go down again at any moment. Come on, let's get out from under this thing."
Together, they made their way carefully through the strange ruins, finding a vantage point within something that might have once been a castle tower in some long-forgotten kingdom, watching as the green and black jet circled the island, an angry hornet looking for someone to sting.
It landed somewhere to the south.
"The Sloth'll never make it back to the mainland. That plane's our only way out of here," Kim announced, her expression hard as flint. "She knows that. It's a trap."
"Why d'ya think she attacked us? We've almost been allies for years."
"Apparently that's changed." To Shego, anyway. "Maybe she's had a short circuit or something."
"Never mind." They began to make their way toward the jet.
And the emerald harlequin waited for them. Smiling. Happy. Fulfilling her purpose in life, at last.