WARNING: This chapter contains child abuse triggers, this time not merely referencial.
Kim awoke with Shego's arm draped across her waist, but her mother's presence on her other side was absent. The teenager dozed for an uncertain amount of time, only becoming more alert when the elder Possible did not return. Once sufficiently roused by concern, Kim eased out of the bed, hobbled over to her crutches and went in search of Ann.
She found her leaning against the lair's open front door, still naked, staring into the dawn. A wide shaft of sunlight was all that lit the room, Ann's silhouette a collection of sexy curves cast upon the opposite wall. She heard her daughter's approach, but barely glanced away from the view as she said, "Good morning, Kimmie."
"Morning. Why're you up so early?"
"I wanted to see this," the doctor nodded at the dawn, her arms crossed until her daughter manouvered herself into her embrace. Kim had her back to her in order to share the view, but she still twisted her head around to plant a morning kiss on her lips.
"No fair," Kim hummed with false petulance, "You already brushed your teeth."
"I don't mind," her mother assured her, kissing her again, deeper, as her hug grew tighter. Then they both returned their attention to the dawn, it's light reaching closer to the tri-city sprawl below.
A minute's silence passed before Ann spoke again. "There's something I think I should tell you, after last night."
"How are you feeling about it?" Kim asked, too relaxed for the moment to become nervous. "I know how things can feel different the morning after... it's okay if you don't want to do it again."
Ann couldn't help smiling at her daughter's consideration. "It's not that. I certainly want to take some time to think about it. I can't say I regret it..." A hand slid down and around Kim's hip to squeeze the nearest buttock, before returning to the embrace. "But it's related, and I think you should know."
It took a moment for the neurosurgeon to organise her thoughts before she began. "You're aware that I have no contact with my parents." A pause as Kim nodded silently. "I've never really explained why that is."
"Dad said they treated you really badly."
"It didn't start out that way... at least, it didn't seem so at the time. They... weren't shy about about behaving sexually around me. And eventually... they began to include me."
"You mean they..."
"I mean." Ann regretted dampening the mood, but now she had started, she realised she needed to have this conversation.
It took a moment for Kim to form a response, and her voice was barely above a whisper. "How old were you?"
"Old enough to know how to keep a secret," Ann hedged, "And for years, I did. They didn't hurt me, Kim. They explained everything, even that they weren't supposed to, but they told me to say if I got scared or if something hurt. They treated me... like I'd expect anyone to treat a lover, with care and respect."
"Respect? You were a child!"
"That's true, I was. It was a special, secret game and I enjoyed it." Ann sighed. "But as time went on, I eventually realised just how wrong it was, how badly people thought of it. One day, I asked them if I could stop. They agreed, but... I could tell they weren't happy. It didn't stop them from having sex while I was right there, and every time, they'd ask... and I didn't always say no. It sounds silly, but in spite of everything it seemed rude to refuse." A deep breath. "I lost my virginity to my father when I was eleven. He didn't stop when I told him to... and my mother didn't stop him either. After that, I told them never again."
"Did... did it work?"
"At the time. Things went from too much attention to practically none. Today I think they may have been giving me space, but at the time it made me feel like my only value to them had been as a sex toy. That's when I started spending so much time out of the house, and doing so well at school, though I was also quite... promiscuous. I didn't have consensual intercourse until I was fifteen, but my reputation... because I was a straight A student, right up until I became valedictorian..." Ann chuckled at the memory, "They used to call me a 'grade A cocksucker'."
"You did that? You... fooled around and stuff, after what your parents had done?"
"Sex with people my own age... I was more experienced than they were, and I was always in control. That's something I never really had with my parents."
Kim thought about Shego, who was years older than her. It had never seemed important, but now she understood it wasn't the number of years between lovers as it was the ratios. No wonder they made a big deal about people being with someone half their age or old enough to be their parent, or grandparent. "You said... at the time."
Ann nodded. "Things at home were always distant during those years. Dad spent more nights out drinking, and mom... I don't know if it was denial or shame, but she pretended that nothing had ever happened. The point is, things between us were never the same again..." The doctor paused, sighing heavily with the weight of what she was about to say. Kim had experienced her mother's anger before - she'd been the cause of it more than once - but she couldn't remember ever hearing the resentment that was now in her voice.
"I don't know when my father heard about my reputation at school, but one night during my final term, he came home very drunk and started ranting and swearing at me about it. Then he tried to rape me. When I resisted, he tried to beat me, but I fought him off and locked myself in my room..."
Ann was forced to pause as Kim spun around to hug her tightly. She took a moment to hug back, stroking her daughter's hair with one hand as she continued. "As soon as I was sure they were both asleep, I packed what I needed and left. I spent the rest of term sleeping at a friend's house, ignored my mother when she came to my graduation... I've had no contact with them since. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead to me."
"You never talked to the police or social services?" Kim mumbled, her face buried in her mother's shoulder.
"No. It wasn't something I could make public, even today. If everyone knew... I didn't want to let it define me, or anyone's perception of me."
"I don't know what to say," Kim said, then tensed as a panic-inducing thought struck. "When Shego... and then I started... we... oh god..."
The embrace tightened into another hug. "Kimmie, it's okay. With you... it's completely different. You're old enough, and you've had experience; we both knew what we were doing. And I enjoyed every minute."
"Still, this is so the..." Kim trailed off, then began again more calmly, "Y'know, 'so the drama' sounds kinda silly when using it about something so..." icky? "Serious."
"Kim." Ann raised her daughter's chin with her free hand so she could look the younger redhead in the eye. "You once told me Shego did nothing to you that you didn't want yourself. It was the same for me, except I was too young to know what I wanted. And... the reason it took me so long to do what we did last night, is because I wanted to be sure I wasn't behaving like my parents."
Kim clearly believed that was impossible. "Could you have?"
"I may have minored in psychology and settled my feelings about everything that happened, but the memories will always be there. Getting pregnant with you was the last time it caused any actual problems, and I got over it thanks to your father. He knew everything, knew I was worried that I could... pass it on, like victims sometimes do. James talked me through my fears, told me what a wonderful person I was and what a wonderful mother I'd be."
"He was right."
Moving her hand to her daughter's cheek, Ann said, "I know, sweetie. I just needed to be reminded." She didn't elaborate that she was referring to her conversation with Betty Director. She didn't want to embarrass Kimmie with the knowledge that her probable future employer knew as much as she did about their relationship. "Watching you grow up, I never felt any sexual attraction until you," she tapped the end of Kim's nose with a fingertip, "Showed an interest. But think about it: we enjoy this so much because it's so naughty, so taboo, so wrong. I may not have desired to abuse you during your youth, but with my history, I can't say it didn't occur to me that I could, just because it would be so perverse to do so."
The teenager stared for a long moment as she assimilated that information, then reached up to the hand on her cheek and kissed the palm before looking back to her mother's eyes. "But you didn't, and that's what matters. And yeah, a lot of people would say what we did last night was perverse enough, but I won't regret it if you don't," she finished with conviction.
"Then neither will I," Ann answered, and leaned down for another kiss as the sun finished rising above the low horizon.
"Shower?" Kim eventually suggested.
"I'll soap your back if you soap mine."
The jagged door clanked shut as they went back inside.
Shego woke to find a note on the neighbouring pillow telling her that Kim had taken Ann back to work, and breakfast was waiting to be reheated in the microwave. She bathed, dressed and ate with gusto, hungry after last night's exercise.
Her thoughts kept returning to last night, so she was horny throughout her morning rituals... but she was also sore, so she didn't do much about it except giggle at the contradiction her body kept presenting her with. Giggling like a damn schoolgirl, she thought to herself with a mental sigh, that's supposed to be Kimmie's job. Should be purring like the cat who got the cream instead, but Ann's got my purr beat. Looks like I'm the growler of the group. She growled playfully once or twice, remembering how both redheads would respond to it, then giggled again. Gah, stop that!
The former villainess strolled into the central chamber, put her feet up and started filing her claws - a morning habit she'd practiced for years - as her thoughts eventually moved on from last night to now. What was on today's agenda?
The filing paused. "...What am I gonna do with myself?" she asked aloud.
Her inner voice responded. What's Kimmie doing today?
"I dunno. Don't see her moping about the lair all day, though. Certainly not until the cast comes off."
And after that?
"Play hero until college, I guess."
And what will you be doing while she's off getting her higher education?
Shego frowned at the thought, and not just because her inner voice was starting to sound like Drakken. Her thieving days were definitely over; she wasn't stupid enough to blow a pardon that let her keep her ill-gotten gains up to now. "Officially retired," she eventually muttered, "I can enjoy the world's best beaches the whole year round, if I want. And yeah, princess and her majesty will be busy doing their own thing, but..."
"...I need to find my own thing."
She started filing again as she considered what someone with her skillset could possibly do with her life. Teaching was the first thing that came to mind, since she'd enjoyed training Junior, and even Kimmie and her classmates as that nauseating alter ego, Miss Go. Was there an evil university? Did ordinary colleges have common sense courses? Using Your Brain 101?
Meh. Perhaps some sort of security consultant. She'd broken into so many places over the last few years. She could probably make another fortune in Middleton alone, though she had to admit most thieves didn't share her advantages. Yet by the same token, a place that could boast giving her difficulty breaking into it...
The green girl was startled as static erupted from the big screen behind her. The image quickly resolved, but Shego heard the voice before she turned to look, and cringed automatically.
"Ah, well done Mego, you've got it. Hello, sister!"
Shego swivelled around to face the screen, grinding her teeth the whole way. "What the hell are you doing, Hego?"
The overly buff blue-black-costumed superhero cleared his throat as he tried to alter the prepared speech in his head. "Well, after that whole viewscreen debacle with Aviarius and your recent heroic efforts-"
"I'm not rejoining the team."
A thinner figure popped up behind Hego's shoulder, his skin as purple as Shego's was green. "For the record, sis, I told him you wouldn't be interested. He's never listened to me, even when he should, which is pretty much ever since you left."
"How's Wego?" Shego asked with a sly smirk.
"Both fine," Hego answered as Mego huffed at the transfer of attention away from himself. "We've been helping rescue and relief efforts in Go City since the alien attack. I don't know exactly what part you played, but we thank you for putting an end to it so swiftly."
He sounded surprisingly earnest. Shego didn't like it. "Whatever."
"We, uh..." Hego looked aside as he rubbed the back of his neck, "...Saw the UN ceremony. Are you and Drakken...?"
"Oh, hell no." On that count, the former villainess was happy to set her most annoying brother straight. "He's in New York to stay, as far as I know. Actually," and Shego's smirk returned as she spoke, "I'm with Kim Possible now."
"So you are a hero again!"
"Uh, Hego," Mego poked the blue buffoon's shoulder, "I don't think she meant it that way." As Hego got the message and started staring with his mouth hanging open, the purple superhero turned his attention back to the screen. "Are you sure about this, Shego? When people hear about this, you know what they're gonna say about me. I'm aready the gay fantasy of the team-"
"It's not my fault you're still in the closet, Mego," the green girl snarked.
"I'm not in any closet!" Mego declared, exasperated by a joke that was years old. "I'm all about the clam!"
"Mego!" Hego admonished, even as Shego burst out laughing. His brother's language had been enough to knock him out of his shocked stupor. "Seriously, Shego, there's a lot of people who still aren't comfortable about that sort of thing. Will you and Kim be okay?"
The unexpected question cut through Shego's humour. "Uh, yeah, sure. Kinda surprised you'd ask."
"Well... we've seen a lot of lives lost in the last few days. You may not be part of the team, but you're still our sister," Hego assured her, offering her the only kind of smile that didn't grate on her nerves.
"...Huh. Well, maybe I'm glad you're all okay, too."
"Yes, Mego, including you. Ugh..." With a shiver, the former villainess got to her feet and walked over the console under the screen. "I'm switching you off before this gets too mushy."
"Give our regards to Kim," Hego managed to get across before Shego cut the feed. She took two steps to her chair, frowned, then went back to make sure her brothers couldn't spy on her even with the screen off.
As she resumed her seat and returned to her claw-filing, she wondered how she'd feel about sidekicking for Kim Possible.