Kim was relieved. In that enclosed space a fight with Shego could have been endless, and time was the one commodity she didn't have while Drakken was pulling who-knew what on stage out there. Using the shampoo had been a sudden burst of inspiration. Shego just stood there, her mind an open door, inviting anyone to come in and take control.
As she was about to beat a path for the stage, however, Kim hesitated. Shego, her archenemy in all but name, was there in front of her, completely vulnerable. Some might say there was an opportunity there.
But she couldn't just become Shego's lord and master . . .
On the other hand, she could always just do a tiny bit of tweaking. Something that would be for the best for all parties concerned, including Shego herself.
Casting a glance at the clock, Kim stood in front of Drakken's mesmerized sidekick. "Shego," she said.
"From this day forward, you want to be a hero again, like when you were part of Team Go. You ARE a hero again. You wouldn't dream of working for Drakken, or breaking any laws, or - just that. From now on, you want to be one of the good guys."
There, that should do it. And it only took her fifteen seconds. Plenty of time for Drakken to go down in flames. And Shego - she'd be all right. In fact she'd be better.
Two weeks later, Kim was no longer sure. Shego had been flying under the radar since the television show. She hadn't been witnessed committing any crimes. But she hadn't exactly leapt into any burning buildings either. Where was she?
"All right, girls, listen up!" Barkin proclaimed, jolting Kim from her thoughts as cheerleading practice was about to begin. "I want all of you to meet the newest addition to Middleton High's staff. This is Naomi Thompson, and she'll be taking over from me as the girls' physical education teacher, as well as the new high school girls' softball coach. Ladies, you'll probably be seeing a lot of her, so you might as well say hello."
Kim gaped. Naomi was no Naomi. That was Shego!
"Hello, girls," Shego said casually. Her hair was pulled back into one long braid running down her back, and large round glasses hid part of her face. She was wearing tan slacks, a dark blue polo shirt, and a whistle around her neck. But her voice, her features, her height - heck, her skin color instantly identified as the villainess. Or was it former villainess?
Probably not. She couldn't be up to any good. Maybe the shampoo wasn't effective in the long term. "Mr. Barkin!" Kim said before any of the other cheerleaders could respond to the new teacher. "Don't you know who this woman is?"
Barkin narrowed his eyes. "I just introduced her, Ms. Possible. So yeah, I think I do."
Bonnie snickered behind her, but Kim pressed on. "Mr. Barkin, I can assure you that this woman is Shego, an internationally wanted criminal. I've fought her on - "
"Ms. Possible," Barkin interrupted, "she has a spotless record and her references checked out. Besides, everyone knows that villains always a similar name, or at least the same initials, when they create their alter-egos. We don't have that here, now do we?"
"Look at her skin!"
"Are you saying you have a problem with albinism, Ms. Possible?"
"But she's not - no, of course not! But - "
"Can it, Possible!" Barkin ordered, dropping the "Ms." "You're obviously mistaken. Frankly, I expected better of you."
Kim opened her mouth to speak, but Barkin's face promised detentions galore if she made a sound, and reluctantly she said nothing.
"Ms. Thompson, I'm Bonnie Rockwaller," Bonnie said graciously as she came forward, "and on behalf of my fellow cheerleaders, I'd like to welcome you here. You'll have to excuse our captain. Sometimes the stress gets to her."
Kim glared at Bonnie.
"Nice to meet you all," Shego said. "I'm sure Ms. Possible and I will be able to get along just fine. In fact, I'd like a minute alone with her so I can prove to her that she's mistaken."
Barkin pointed toward the bleachers before Kim could make any snarky comments. She sighed heavily and, shooting a nasty glance at Shego, followed her away.
"What do you think you're trying to pull, Shego?" Kim hissed as they walked away. "You and I both know - "
"Know what, Kimmie?" Shego asked, dropping all pretense. "That you used Dr. D's mind-control shampoo on me?"
"It obviously didn't take," Kim muttered.
"Oh, that's where you're wrong," Shego said icily. "We heroes need our secret identities, you know. I just decided to take this one."
"What - but - that means - "
"It means I'm a hero," Shego replied. Her voice was low, but rich with a suppressed fury. "Turned in my walking papers to Drakken while he was in prison. I can't even jaywalk now." She folded her arms. "But you should have taken more time to think about what you were doing, Pumpkin. You didn't tell me to forget what you did, so I remember every word you said. And you told me to want it, but you DIDN'T tell me to like it!"
"It's not my fault that you're such a selfish bitch that you can't bring yourself to enjoy saving lives!"
"Yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe I should take pride in the fact that after I get home, I'm going to slip into one of my catsuits and go looking for heroic things to do. But a selfish bitch like me can definitely make your days here absolutely miserable, and there's nothing you put in my brain that says I can't," Shego promised her coldly. "So I hope you like laps. And push-ups. Oh, and detention, because that you're going to get if you don't smile like a good little princess and tell Barkin what he wants to hear."
Kim stared at her. "This isn't over, Shego," she retorted.
"No, it's not. You're in my class tomorrow morning. Bring your track shoes."
"Ron, 'so the drama' doesn't even cover it. This is so the drama squared. Even when she's a hero, she's trying to make my life a living hell!" Kim flopped back onto her bed.
"I'm still trying to understand why she told you to bring track shoes," Ron said. "I thought your P.E. class was swimming right now."
Kim sighed. Few things got around school faster than what sport they were doing in girls' phys ed. Anything that involved large numbers of young women in either short shorts or swimsuits . . . "That was Mr. Barkin's scheduling," Kim pointed out. "Now that 'Miss Thompson' is in charge, we could be doing anything tomorrow. Or, everyone else goes swimming while I run laps on the basketball court."
"Sounds like a light jog for you, KP."
"It's not about the jogging, it's about me being punished without cause. And she's a teacher, so I can't do anything about it," Kim complained. She grimaced. "Oooh! And Bonnie was so smug! I bet she's going to be Shego's new teacher's pet if it means opportunities to get me into trouble."
"Awwww," Rufus said, patting Kim on the arm.
"Ditto for me, Rufus," Ron agreed. "Although I kinda wish I had Shego for a teacher."
Kim sat up. "Why?"
"My name's on the roll call. She'd HAVE to call me by my real name then!"
"Real name . . . " Kim paused. "Do you really think 'Naomi Thompson' is her real name?"
"Her brother was never entirely clear if she HAD a last name."
"Because if that's a false identity," Kim said, growing animated, "then she must have provided the school's payroll department with falsified identification - Social Security card, driver's license, passport, that sort of thing. They'd have to fire her for that sort of thing."
Ron scratched his head. "Yeah, but I thought the shampoo stopped her from breaking laws. Wouldn't owning a fake ID be breaking the law?"
Kim slapped a hand over her face. "You're right. Forget it." But her hand slipped down her face and tapped her chin. "Even so, she had to have lied on her resume. She's no teacher. But I don't think it's illegal to lie to prospective employers. If the school found out she had no teaching experience, THEN we could be rid of her."
"You could be rid of her. She hasn't threatened me with detention," Ron pointed out.
"Yet, Ron, yet." She got out her Kimmunicator. "Wade?"
"Kim, I was just about to contact you," Wade said when his image appeared.
"Can you hack into my high school's network and determine what kind of resume and references Shego gave them? If we can track those down and prove they're fake - "
"Kim, before you go on, you should turn on the evening news. Or better yet . . ."
The screen on the Kimmunicator was suddenly replaced by live feed from one of the local network news programs. "We don't have any visual confirmation, as the woman fled the scene," the anchorwoman said, "but three separate witnesses, including one of the firefighters, described her as young, with very pale skin, and dressed in green and black clothing. The police are trying to locate her, but right now the Flammable family is just grateful that their daughter survived the fire, thanks to their mystery benefactor. Back to you, Ron."
"Thank you, Veronica. In other news - "
Wade came back. "What do you think?" he asked.
"Wade, I didn't see the beginning of that, but it sounds like they're saying Shego saved a girl from a burning building of some kind."
"Well, it's not official, but yeah, I'd say that's what happened. The firefighters were pulling out when she arrived. If she hadn't, the girl probably would have died."
Kim looked at Ron. Whoa, she said silently. "Thanks for the info, Wade."
"So you still want me to hack into school records?"
She sighed. "No - no, I guess not." She turned the device off and groaned. "I'm screwed," she said.
"It sounded good to me, Kim. The shampoo is definitely working, and Shego saved someone's life."
"That's right, Ron, but that also means . . . if I get Shego in trouble at the school, it might interfere with her being a hero. She could even get arrested if they figure out who she is. Ron, there are people who might live in the future when they would have died because Shego will save them. I can't expose her secret. It would be selfish of me. I'm just going to have to, ugh, put up with her until she gets bored of harassing me."
Ron went to her closet. "Then I guess you'll be needing these," he said, reaching in and taking out a pair of sneakers.
"Maybe I should bring the ones with the rocket boosters."
Ron had a free period during Kim's phys ed class, so he headed down to the indoor swimming pool to see if she'd been banished to doing laps or not. When he got there, there were thirty guys crowded around the entrance. "Maybe if you went in one at a time, there wouldn't be this kind of traffic jam," he pointed out.
"New teacher banned boys from the bleachers, Stoppable," someone said.
"Is Kim in there?"
"Who cares?" another boy said. "Ms. Thompson is hot."
Ron squeezed his way towards one of the windows. He looked toward the swimming pool to see if he could see Kim, but his search was briefly interrupted when he saw what everyone else was looking at.
Namely, Shego wearing a tight green one-piece bathing suit with a low back, glasses, a whistle, and nothing else. She was also wet, having evidently been in the pool earlier. The water made her skin glisten. "Wow," he whispered, flashing back to the first time he saw her.
Then he shook his head. "Focus, Ron." He looked again for Kim.
When he was satisfied she wasn't there, Ron headed for the basketball court. Sure enough, Kim was jogging laps around the court. In her bathing suit and her running shoes.
And she did NOT look happy. At ALL.
"Maybe I'll wait until fourth-period study hall to say hi, Rufus," Ron said wisely.
"She wouldn't even let me get changed first!" Kim said angrily before study hall started. "She waited for me to get changed like everyone else, not saying a word, and then she pounced on me for some nonexistent infraction and told me to start immediately doing laps around the basketball court until she came for me. And if she saw me in anything other than what I had on, she was going to know I stopped somewhere first and give me detention!" Her fists were clenched as tightly as possible.
"Hey, at least it's over," Ron told her. "Besides, you wouldn't have wanted to be there. All the boys were drooling over Shego, and - "
"They were what?!"
Kim threw up her hands. "She's going to turn my entire class against me. I just know it."
"At least you only have her for one period."
"All right, class!" Mr. Barkin shouted as he came in. And he wasn't alone.
Kim let her head hit the desk.
"From now on, Ms. Thompson will be monitoring fourth-period study hall. I've explained that she has my permission to punish any slackers, chatterboxes, or sleepers in any way she sees fit, including - "
"Detention," Kim mumbled.
"Detention," Mr. Barkin said. "That is all."
Shego said nothing to Kim, not even looking her way. She sat primly at her desk and opened a magazine.
Kim got up and went up to her. "What are you doing here?" she growled.
"Why, Kim Possible, it's horrible how many classes your principal is forced to oversee here. I offered to lighten the load a little. It's not like I have a full day."
"Then why not do SIXTH-period study hall? Or seventh?"
"What's wrong with fourth-period? Is there something you do during this period that you don't want me seeing, Ms. Possible?"
Kim ground her teeth and muttered something under her breath as she turned away.
"Detention for talking back, Ms. Possible," Shego said mildly from behind.
"Ouch," Ron thought.
She's saving lives, she's saving lives, Kim thought as she went back to her desk. And that the only thing worse than having Shego for a good guy, was that she was such a good guy herself.
Two weeks later, "frazzled" didn't quite describe Kim's state of mind. "Paranoid" came closer.
It would have been easier if Shego descended on her every day with some new imagined infraction. At least she'd be used to. Not to mention that someone, like her parents or Mr. Barkin, would have noticed the sudden burst of black marks on her clean record, all the doing of the new teacher, and raised questions. Maybe even gotten Shego fired.
Shego, however, had proven too diabolically cunning for that. After that first study hall, Shego had put her big gun, awarding detentions, back in its holster and hadn't used it again. Two or three days might go by without any incident at all.
Then something would happen in gym class, Shego would blame Kim, and the next thing she knew, she was doing fifty push-ups or running laps out in the cold. Worse yet, none of the other girls seemed to see this as evidence that Shego was masquerading as a teacher so she could have her revenge on Kim. Instead they perceived Kim as having an intense dislike for their new teacher, ever since that first scene during cheerleader practice, and that Ms. Thompson was responding to her bad attitude. It made Kim want to scream - except that, of course, would only cement this mistaken belief in their minds.
And those days without punishment weren't exactly free of stress either. Kim felt like Shego was watching her every second in phys ed or study hall, but whenever she turned her head, the former villainess didn't seem to be paying her any special attention. Still, the sense of being watched by Shego had Kim in constant "mission mode", and she was feeling very tense throughout the day.
Strangest of all were the times Shego would corral her after P.E. or in the hallway. Not to fight or to insult her, but to recruit her to the softball team.
Kim knew Shego just wanted to be in a position where she was the student's coach as well as teacher, oppressing Kim even further. But Shego's pitch would have sounded persuasive, not malevolent, to anyone listening. "Why are you a cheerleader anyway?" Shego asked once. "You're no different from Stoppable's mascot and his buffoonery. You're just the entertainment."
"Cheerleaders help keep the crowd in the game, which helps motivate our team," Kim said curtly.
"So you're helping the team."
"More than say, stepping up to the plate and hitting one out of the park," Shego said sarcastically.
Kim didn't rise to the bait.
"You're wasting your abilities, Kim," Shego went on. Then she stopped, and no one else saw the increasingly venomous look in her eyes. "But if you want to waste your abilities, that's your choice," she added before storming off.
"You got that right," Kim said under her breath.
At the same time Shego had continued making the rounds on the local nightly news broadcasts. Wearing a modified green-and-black outfit and a mask, she hadn't been identified yet as the wanted criminal. But besides the girl she'd saved from a fire, Shego had also stopped two muggings, saved a jumper, and busted three drug dealers.
And of course there was something Kim would love to forget.
(five days ago)
Her Kimmunicator couldn't have gone off during a better time - study hall. Shego couldn't possibly give her a hard time for leaving early to go on a mission.
"Possible, could you possibly stay quiet?" Shego asked without looking up from her book.
"Sorry," Kim muttered. "But this is important."
Shego looked at her for a moment, and then said nothing.
"Wade, what's the sitch?"
"Bad news, Kim. Monkey Fist. Archaeologists believe they've discovered part of the Library of Alexandria during their excavations in Egypt, but Fist's ninjas have chased all the workers away."
"He must think there's some information or artifacts relating to monkey magic buried in there," Kim said.
"Could be. It used to be the largest library in the world," Wade said.
"Aw, man," Ron grumbled. "We're leaving school to face monkeys in an old library. That qualifies as bad to worse in my book."
"Ride ready yet, Wade?" Kim asked.
"Should be there any second."
"You rock, Wade." Kim hurriedly got up and left, Ron behind her. Even with him there, she felt like Shego's eyes were hitting her right between the shoulder blades.
"Thanks for the airlift, Captain," Kim said as they neared Egyptian airspace.
"No problem, Kim. After you saved me and my priceless cargo of Mary Mother of the Redeemer statues, I couldn't say no. By the way, who's the new girl?"
Kim and Ron looked at each other. "He didn't just call me a girl, did he?" Ron asked.
"What new girl?"
"The one who boarded a few moments after you did," the pilot said. "Isn't she still back there in the cargo bay?"
"Come on, Ron," Kim said. What on earth could he be talking . . . it couldn't be.
"Almost there, Kimmie?" Shego asked. "I have softball practice in four hours."
"Shego!" Kim said, infuriated. "What are you DOING here?"
"Hey, this was YOUR idea."
"Are you on a mission?"
"Yes, but - "
"Off to do heroic things?"
"Yes, and - "
"Well, me resisting the compulsion to be a hero - the compulsion that YOU put in my head," Shego said coldly, "was about as likely as the sidekick here keeping his pants on during a mission."
"That's pretty unlikely, KP," Ron pointed out to Kim.
"Ron, not helping!"
"Look, I'm here to - help you," Shego said bitterly, "so if you're laboring under the delusion that I LIKE this, that should convince you otherwise. Face it, you're stuck with me today."
"Ms. Possible?" the pilot called back. "We've reached the drop point."
Kim growled. "Fine, FINE. Grab a parachute and follow us. And do what I tell you! Don't get in the way!"
"I used to be part of a hero team, Princess. I know what I'm doing," Shego retorted.
Ron looked at Rufus. "Monkeys, a library, and Kim and Shego working together? Rufus buddy, kinda wishing I was in the mens' room when Wade called."
"Why are you wearing that anyway?" Kim asked as they were bundling their parachutes away.
"It's a mask. It's a hero thing. Funny you didn't know that."
"I mean the outfit. Why the change?"
Besides the black mask and headgear that not only covered her face above the lips, but hid her hair from view, Shego was wearing a skintight black bodysuit with a wide green band across her waist, and occasional horizontal green stripes randomly placed along her arms and legs. Instead of gloves, the suit extended over her hands.
Shego grunted. "When I first quit Team Go," she finally admitted, "this was the first outfit I wore. Didn't want villains seeing my team uniform and associating me with those do-gooders."
"Then why did you change back?"
"Decided it would tweak Hego's nose if he saw me on TV and realized what I was up to," Shego said, smiling nastily.
"So that's what this is," Kim said. "You're trying to hide your identity from the other villains."
"You say 'other' like I'm still one," Shego growled. "We both know that's no longer true, thanks to you."
"If you're looking for an apology, forget it," Kim retorted.
Shego stopped what she was doing for a moment. The corner of her lip twitched. Then she got back to work. "Don't want the authorities knowing who I am either," she did say. "Otherwise they'll try to arrest me next time they see me. You may get a free pass for your vigilante activities, but my record? Please. Maybe they'd give me a medal before they threw me into holding."
"What would you do then?" Ron asked curiously. "I mean, you couldn't escape, because then you'd be breaking the law. But if you stayed in prison, then you couldn't be a hero."
"I'd escape, sidekick," Shego replied.
"But Ron's right, you'd be - " Kim reminded her.
"Breaking the law, Princess?" Shego chuckled. "I'm finished. Can we get on with this? I'll talk on the way."
"Fine," Kim said. She didn't like Shego making her rush, but she wanted to hear this. Maybe the mind-control powers of the shampoo were breaking down . . .
"It's your fault, Kimmie. Again," Shego said.
"You blame me for everything, don't you?"
"I'm sorry, was it another girl who put Drakken's shampoo in my hair and then issued directives? It's the wording you used, Pumpkin. You told me that I AM a hero, that I want to be one. You also said I wouldn't DREAM of working for Drakken or breaking the law."
"And?" Kim asked, not liking where she saw this going.
"So I don't dream about breaking the law any more," Shego said.
"But you told me the first day that you can't break the law."
"Turns out that's not ENTIRELY accurate," Shego grumbled. "My mind, or the little voice you planted in it, anyway, knows what you intended when you said I wouldn't dream of it. And breaking the law isn't a very heroic thing to do. I can't do the one and be the other at the same time. BUT, if me obeying the law is going to interfere with me being a hero, then I'll break it instead. Violating the spirit of your command is apparently okay if I'm not violating the letter of it. Ergo, me in prison leads to me not in prison." She raised her mask slightly so Kim could see the anger in Shego's stare, directed right at her. "So don't forget, I'm not a completely caged animal, Possible."
"Like any cage ever holds you anyway," Kim shot back.
Ron looked troubled, but they were at the entrance to the dig, and he said nothing.
"Yes, dig, my monkey minions, dig!" Monkey Fist urged them on, as dozens of little simians in black clothing attacked the buried exits of the ancient Egyptian chamber with pickaxes and shovels. "These passageways must lead to the knowledge of ancient Egypt. The greatest collection of knowledge early civilization possessed, at the crossroads between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Something HAD to have survived. Something that will make me - the ultimate Monkey King!"
"Now, a king, does that outrank a master? I can't tell if you're aiming higher or lower than the last time," Ron said.
Fist spun around. "The pretender, and Kim Possible!" He paused. "Who are you?"
Shego didn't respond. He knew her voice.
"No matter," Fist growled. "Monkey ninjas - "
"Attack, right, we know," Kim said, running forward. She dodged and weaved expertly as she suddenly came under a barrage of archaeological tools.
Shego didn't dare activate her plasma, but she didn't need it to pummel a few monkeys.
Monty, however, bounced off the walls and sailed over Kim's head, landing a few feet away from Ron. "Hello, boy," he said maliciously.
"Dude, banana breath! Try some Listerine sometime! Aack!" Ron turned and ran as Monkey Fist's foot nearly took his head off.
The waves of monkey ninjas were nothing new for Kim, and she dealt with them easily. It was even easier than usual, however, and the answer for that was Shego, who looked to be having no more trouble than her. Kim didn't know how she felt about fighting alongside Shego, but she could admit it was much preferable to fighting AGAINST her.
"Look - hoo! - I'm sure we can - waaah! - work something out," Ron said, his words frequently interrupted by close shaves as he and Monkey Fist circled a tall stone column covered in hieroglyphics. "How about you get the Monkey Magic on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, and I take it the other four days?"
"I shall have the magic on the weekends, thief!" Monkey Fist snarled. As he attempted to grab the boy, however, he couldn't fail to see that Kim and the mystery woman were ten seconds away from dispatching the last of his monkeys and turning their sights on him. He cursed. "Retreat!"
The monkeys instantly, almost gratefully fell back. They climbed a second column and began exiting the chamber through an aperture in the ceiling. Monkey Fist climbed the column he and Ron had circled, using all four hands to walk across the walls.
"Not so fast!" Kim cried out, drawing her grappling hook.
One of the monkeys, however, snatched up a pickaxe and hurled it at her. Distracted by her focus on Monkey Fist, Kim almost didn't see it coming. She moved to her left and it just missed her. It clipped the fabric of her cargo pants, however, and got caught as the head was buried in the floor. Kim was pulled a few inches backwards, and her aim was thrown off, causing the grapple to miss her target and clank harmlessly off the ceiling. Shego ignored her and pursued Monkey Fist.
The deranged half-man, however, had other tricks up his sleeves. Looking to create a much bigger distraction, he and twenty of his minions positioned themselves between the column and the wall, and with one simultaneous push, they rocked the column off its foundation and sent it crashing toward Kim. "Hope you like being a new mummy!" Monkey Fist shrieked gleefully as he laughed and escaped out the hole.
"Great," Kim hissed, quickly leaping to her right. Or at least she tried to, forgetting her pants were still temporarily nailed to the floor. She lurched to her knees and looked back, eyes wide.
"KP!" Ron cried out, frightened.
There was a loud shattering, and Kim looked away, halfway expecting to feel her body being pulverized. Instead she was showered with dust and small rocks, as rubble smashed all about her.
Shego looked down at her hands, which were glowing. Purely on instinct - no, on that damn shampoo! - she'd blown the column out of the air. And saved Kim's life.
She gave in to a bloodcurdling scream of fury, scratching at the air like there were invisible enemies about her that she was trying to maim.
"Ron," Kim said quietly, realizing what had happened. "Are you okay?" she asked in a louder voice.
"I'm good, but Kim, Shego, she - "
They looked up at Shego, who had approached them. She stared down at Kim for a moment. "That's why I never wear baggy pants, you damn amateur," she finally grumbled.
Shego had saved her life. That was five days ago.
Since then, Shego hadn't spoken one word to her, if you didn't count what she said in P.E. to everyone as a group. Kim wanted to think that Shego's act of heroism had finally mellowed the ex-villainess out, but she knew that wasn't the case. Kim could feel the simmering, repressed fury that Shego was emitting, like a particularly toxic radiation. Shego was a volcano waiting to erupt, a carnivorous beast watching from the shadows. Kim's entire back was in knots waiting for the inevitable explosion.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Kim was having nightmares. Nightmares of the column crushing her while Shego did nothing, of Shego pushing the column on top of her, of Shego taking the hit instead of her and cursing her with her dying breath. And then there were nightmares that she couldn't remember, but left her lying awake in a sweat, her stomach queasy and her face flushed.
It couldn't go on like this. She needed to talk to someone. What Kim needed was her mother.
"Yes, Kim? What's up? You've been acting a little stressed lately," her mother said.
Kim sat down at the kitchen table. "Could I get your opinion on something?" she asked.
Her mother nodded.
"Someone put something in her head that made her want to be a hero again," Kim explained. For some reason she didn't want to own up to her role.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
"Mind control, Mom. Someone used a chemical agent on Shego, and it forced her to respond to their commands . . ." Kim paused for a moment. Saying it out loud like that, it left her feeling more uneasy than ever. It sounded so - villainous. "Then she was ordered to stop breaking the law and go back to saving people. She doesn't want to do it, she hates doing it, but something in her brain won't let her stop."
"I see," Kim's mother said. "And how do you know this?"
"She told me."
"Ah. Let me guess - she wants you to change her back."
Shego had never said that, but Kim imagined it was true. Maybe that was why Shego was always so angry. Maybe she was waiting for Kim to offer her help. Kim's resolve hardened. She could FORGET that. "Pretty much, yeah."
"And you're not sure if you should or not."
"I'm pretty sure I shouldn't," Kim told her. "I know for a fact that there are people today who are alive, and they wouldn't be if she hadn't saved them. But I'm not - totally sure."
"Let me ask a question," her mother said, "although I don't know if you can answer this. Was it some kind of judicial or law enforcement agency that did this to her? Because if this is some kind of rehabilitation or community service, you can't interfere."
"It's nothing like that," Kim replied. "It was an individual."
"Well then, that's a hard decision to make, Kimmie."
"Tell me about it," Kim sighed.
"I can't tell you what to do, because you'll have to live with the consequences," her mother went on, "but my advice would be to change her back."
Kim was a bit surprised. "Really?" she asked. "Mom, if I do that, she'll go back to being evil. She'll hurt people. It's not right."
"Like I said, you'd have to live with that," her mother agreed. "But in a case like this, it's not just about what's right and wrong. It's about what's ethical and what's not."
"A doctor couldn't refuse treatment to a killer, Kim, even if they thought he might kill again. An attorney couldn't reveal confidential information about his client to the police, even if the client is guilty. It's about bigger principles than the lives of a few people," Mrs. Dr. Possible said. "Whoever this person is, they've made it so Shego is unable to stop herself from saving people, right?"
"Then they've taken away her free will. It's a kind of violation, Kim, of slavery. Shego has rights, the same as everyone else does. Including the right to not put herself in harm's way, even if by doing so, others will get hurt."
"Violated?" Kim asked quietly.
"Not physically, perhaps, but mentally or psychologically, yes," her mother said. "She's lost the right to choose her own destiny. Who has the right to choose her destiny for her, Kim? And what's to stop this person from making those kinds of choices for other people, even decent, law-abiding ones?"
Kim froze. Her mind flashed back to an earlier encounter with Shego.
But if you want to waste your abilities, that's your choice.
Her mother was right. She'd made Shego a slave. Played God with her mind.
Shego wasn't trying to punish Kim. Well, okay, maybe she was doing that too, but this was probably just as much about making Kim realize what she had done was wrong.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever her intent had been, Kim was no different from Dr. Drakken.
"Kim, I hope that you not only help Shego, but find whoever did this to her," her mother was saying. "They could be dangerous."
Kim almost choked on that last word. But wasn't she? Hadn't she committed a crime, and gotten away with it? Who would ever believe Shego if Kim lied about it? And then she could use that shampoo on Drakken, and Monkey Fist, and the Seniors, and . . .
She thought this was what they called a "slippery slope".
"Thanks, Mom," she said. "I needed that."
"I'm your mother, Kim. Whatever I can do."
"You've done plenty." As Kim stood up, she pulled out her Kimmunicator. This would require a favor or two.
Shego grumbled as she showered in the girls' locker room at Middleton High once the students had gone. Damn chlorine smell - you could kill waterfowl by dropping them in that pool.
If she could trap Kimmie in there long enough . . . maybe with her head underwater . . .
Killing is wrong, and it's against the law, and Kim is your fellow hero. You would never do something like that.
Shego snarled and slammed her palm against the wall of the shower. Goddamn Princess and her fucking meddling!
She reached for the shampoo and started washing her hair.
As her hands worked up a lather, Shego's vision gradually became unfocused, until finally her arms dropped limply to the sides. She swayed a little, dazed.
Kim came in a minute later. She saw Shego naked and quickly turned around. Fortunately, she didn't have to LOOK at her to do this. More fortunately, Wade had managed to procure another bottle of Drakken's shampoo, which had been held as evidence by Global Justice. And she'd managed to switch it with Shego's shampoo.
"Shego," she said softly.
"Two things. One, I wanted to let you know that I'm sorry - sorry for what I did to you."
Kim waited for a reaction but didn't get one. Of course - Shego was waiting for commands, and that hadn't been one.
"Two," Kim said quickly, "I want you to stop following the orders I gave you the first time. Got it? You don't have to be a hero if you don't want to." She sighed. "If you want, you can break the law helping Drakken all you want. Do you understand?"
"Yes. Your command is not to follow your command."
"Um . . . I guess so, yeah." Kim wasn't sure how long Shego would stay like that. Anyone could come in, accidentally give some kind of order, and things would REALLY be messed up. "You can come out of it now, if you like. If you can."
Shego blinked for a few seconds, and then she spluttered. "Son of a - ! Kimmie! What did - " She stopped. "Holy shit, you got rid of the voice in my head, didn't you?"
"I was wrong," Kim said. "I'm sorry. That's what you wanted from me all this time, isn't it?"
"A little begging for mercy wouldn't have been bad," Shego muttered as she hurriedly rinsed the shampoo out of her hair and turned off the water. "But yeah, and I wasn't going to make it easy for you, you being a goody-two-shoes and all."
Kim nodded. "Don't suppose you'll accept my apology?"
"I'll accept it if you leave now so I can get dressed."
"Fine," Kim said. She started to leave.
She didn't make it more than a few steps, however, before Shego grabbed the shampoo and sprayed it all over the back of Kim's head.
"Kimmie, Kimmie, Kimmie," Shego said as she got a towel and wrapped it around her body. "You forgot one tiny little other thing. I'm bad now, and I'm allowed to do things that are wrong." She grinned and walked around to face Kim.
"Oh, the things I could make you do, Pumpkin. Turning you into MY sidekick sounds especially good," Shego said, chuckling. Then she shrugged. "Still, you did take it all back, AND you apologized. It must have really stuck in your craw to tell me you were sorry."
"So, I'm only going to make one small change. Because even goody-goodys like you can't walk away from something like this scot-free," Shego told her. "But I'll be nicer than you ever were. YOU won't remember a thing."
"Congratulations on the district championship, Coach Arnall," Mr. Barkin said. "This is the first time our girl's softball team has a real shot at winning the state title."
"I can't take all the credit," the coach said. "My predecessor did manage to recruit our star outfielder and tournament MVP before I arrived."
"I'd pass that along to Ms. Thompson if I knew what school she was working at now. Shame she left so soon."
Kim smiled at Ron as he cheered her on from the stands, then waved at Bonnie on the sidelines. The cheer captain smiled back, but Kim could tell she didn't mean it. Bonnie hated leading cheers for Kim even more than she'd hated being on the same squad as her.
She'd never know why she woke up one morning so bored with cheerleading, but she was glad she had. Being a jock was more fun, AND it looked better on her college applications.
Even Shego had congratulated her on winning district. Although there had been an odd look in her eyes.
"Maybe," Kim thought as the first pitch came her way, "I'll try out for soccer in the fall."
Author's Note – This was one of several "intellectual exercises" for me as a writer. The series, when you think about it, dealt with multiple forms of mind control – "Emotion Sickness", "Rappin' Drakken", "Stop Team Go", etc – in a relatively straightforward way. I thought it would be much more interesting to delve into all the gray areas created by interfering with other people's minds, emotions, morals, and so on.
I was happy with the story, but I didn't ENJOY it. Kim and Shego's relationship in this fic is about as antagonistic as it is in the show, and way more hostile than my other fics. And it just wasn't FUN having Kim and Shego as bitter enemies. So I was glad I played this scenario out, but I didn't feel like posting anti-Kigo.