Notes: These Weapon chapters are turning out longer than I expected, but I hope the next one will be the last. Then we probably move onto The Han.
A Kim Possible Fanfic by
Nate Grey (xman0123-at-aol-dot-com)
Chapter 5: The Weapon, Part 3
It had not taken Motor Ed long to realize that something was very wrong with the situation he had found himself in. His first impression, of course, was that a killer robot had broken into the prison to kill him. But after several minutes of merely flying away with him and not crushing him in its grip, it finally occurred to him that the robot had been sent to bust him out of prison, not kill him. On that point, he was not confused at all.
What did confuse him was Hana Stoppable. She, of course, was no stranger to him. Anyone who both constantly traveled with Kim Possible, and also made no attempt to hide her superhuman strength, was bound to get noticed. And while Hana had always been careful to avoid showing off in front of the media, she had rapidly developed a reputation among the evil community for treating henchmen like walking punching bags. Motor Ed had taken a few hits from her himself, and frankly, he was in no hurry to repeat the experience.
So it made no sense that Hana had managed to grab onto the robot, and yet made no attempt to force it to land, or even to recapture him. At the very least, he had expected her to call Kim's computer geek, but she hadn't even done that. Hana gave every appearance of having hitched a ride, and being in no real hurry to get off. She had even climbed up to the robot's shoulder and seated herself comfortably beside its head. Motor Ed briefly considered trying to talk to her, but judging by the decidedly unfriendly look on her face, he figured it was smarter to remain silent.
The uneasy silence lasted until the robot suddenly turned its head to Hana and issued a series of high-pitched beeps. She stared at it, as if listening, nodded, then hopped back down to the robot's wrist, and quickly closed the distance between herself and Motor Ed. "I need to know something, Eddie," she said. "Did you have any plans to escape prison today?"
Motor Ed frowned at her. "Yeah, but so did everyone else. Not a whole lot to do in there but think of ways to bust out. Seriously."
Hana rolled her eyes. "Let me rephrase, then. Did you have any plans that got past the planning phase and into actual execution? One that involved Shego, maybe?"
"Get real, Little Mama. Seriously. If she had anything to do with this, we'd be seeing her red magic all over the place by now."
Hana frowned. "You do make a good point." She nodded to herself. "Okay, then. Just so you know, I'm busting you out of prison. You might be tempted to run away, but that would be a very bad idea. You know what I did to your cousin. I could just as easily do that to you. So behave yourself, do only what I tell you, and we won't have any problems."
Motor Ed simply stared at her in total disbelief for a long moment. Finally, he blinked and asked slowly, "...seriously?"
"I don't like repeating myself," Hana replied with a scowl that didn't seem to suit her.
For a moment, Dr. Betty Director was able to pretend that she was not on duty. She was merely a woman attending the long-awaited wedding of a good friend. It was a nice dream, and one that she would keep close to her heart for some time. But she knew it would not last. This was Middleton, and it was Kim Possible's wedding day. Something bad was bound to happen.
Betty had personally promised Kim that there would be no security breaches on her watch. Any villain who decided to interfere with Kim's big day would quickly find several fully armed, extremely annoyed Global Justice agents at their back, just waiting for an excuse. As a sign of just how much Kim meant to their organization, each agent on the security detail had declined to be paid for the assignment. Not because Team Possible had effectively saved GJ millions in both funds and man hours, but because they still represented a standard of excellence that most agents would never get anywhere close to with any amount of training, and still asked for little more than some occasional favors.
Betty had tried and failed to reproduce the circumstances that had blessed the world with Kim Possible. It either couldn't be done, or couldn't be done by her with the resources she currently had access to. It had taken her a long time to accept that, and longer to realize that the world didn't need another Kim. The one they had was still working as well as she ever had. For how much longer, no one but Kim could say for sure. But Betty strongly suspected that Kim would not be the sort of woman that would run off to save the world and leave her kids at home with a sitter. She easily could, she just wouldn't. It wasn't how Kim had been raised, and after having talked with Dr. Ann Possible several times, Betty would be shocked if any of the Possible kids had turned out that way.
So as things stood, the world would likely soon be faced with Kim's retirement. She had earned it, to be sure, but it did leave everyone in general and Betty in particular in a worrying position. Half of Betty was almost obligated to ask Kim to postpone that announcement as long as possible, and the other half knew it would be the worst betrayal of their friendship to do so. More importantly, the world's best chance at eventually getting another Kim was to allow her to have her children in peace. GJ would just have to pick up the slack until then, because from the looks of it, Hench Worldwide United was not about to cut them a break.
The thought had barely cleared Betty's mind when a familiar presence made itself known at her side. "Report, Agent Du," she murmured, keeping her eye trained on Kim and Ron as they exited the church and climbed into a waiting limousine. Her gaze drifted to the fancy, dollar-green SSJ logo on each of the car's doors, and she briefly wondered at how much things had changed.
"All green here, ma'am," Will Du responded at once. "However, the call center is getting several requests for assistance at the prison. Motor Ed is loose."
Anyone else might have been surprised. In Betty's line of work, she didn't get paid to be surprised, as far as she was concerned. "Take a unit and get over there, Du. I want the situation contained, quickly and quietly." As an afterthought, she added, "If he's missing a few more teeth when you bring him in, I suspect I'll be in the mood to overlook it."
Du grinned as if Christmas had come early. "Understood, ma'am." He saluted and vanished as quickly as he had come, but with a noticeable spring in his step this time.
Betty smirked and headed for her own vehicle. While she did not intend to personally trail Kim and Ron through their entire honeymoon, she was at least going to ensure they made the first leg of their trip in one piece, and in peace.
"I said it before, and I'll say it again," Ron sighed as he stretched his arms, grinned, and attempted to wiggle himself deeper into the limousine's backseat. "Bonnie may have her faults, but she always has the sweetest rides."
"What do you mean, she 'may' have faults?" Kim asked mildly, frowning at him. "I'll admit she's changed for the better, but she's far from perfect. And even if she was perfect, I don't want you praising other women on today of all days."
"Kimbo, you are way too tense," Ron chuckled. "Just sit back, enjoy the ridiculously expensive ride, and remember: Bonnie's paying for it."
"Actually, the car belongs to her," Hana added as she stared out of the window. "She owns all of her cars outright. That way she only has to pay for maintainance."
"You know that, how?" Ron asked, a fairly surprised expression on his face.
Hana shrugged. "I asked her. I thought it was weird that she would rent a limo and have them paint 'SSJ' on the side, only to have to take it right back off when she returned the limo. Turns out she doesn't rent the limos. Got pretty snippy at the very implication that she would ever rent anything, frankly."
"You just asked Bonnie how she spends her money?" Kim added, just as surprised as Ron.
"Why not? She's got plenty, and she's had it for years, so she must know how to manage it wisely." Hana glanced over her shoulder, finally noticing that they were staring at her. "Okay. Remember how I invented Mount Naco?"
Noticing Kim's confused stare, Ron quickly explained, "You hold up a naco, cut it open along the bottom, let the insides spill over a bowl of tortilla chips. Add salsa for lava, and it's a Naco Volcano."
Kim frowned. "Do I want to know how you came up with this?"
"I wanted my own money," Hana replied. "I'm too young to have a job, so Ronnie agreed to pitch it to Bueno Nacho for me. They loved it. Of course, they advertise it strictly as a multi-person platter, the wimps. Anyway, royalties have been huge, so I wanted advice from somebody that had been rich for a while. Bonnie is the richest person I know." Hana paused and shot them a knowing look. "Are we done making small talk? I know you two don't want to talk about money with me, so what is it?"
Kim glanced at Ron, who shrugged. "Sweetie, have you given any thought to how things are going to change, now that Ron and I are married?"
"Sure," Hana said at once. "You're officially my sister now. Which doesn't really change anything, because I've thought of you that way since before I knew what a sister was. Where are you going with this?"
"We had a house built, Han," Ron explained. "Pretty big, lots of rooms, plenty of space for guests."
"Okay," Hana said slowly, looking a little confused. "So you're moving. What's the problem?"
"We wanted to offer you one of the rooms," Ron added. "In case you ever want to stay the night. Nobody else would ever stay there, just you."
"I get my own room in your house?" Hana asked in surprise.
"You don't have to sound so shocked," Kim murmured, frowning.
"It's just, I won't live there," Hana pointed out. "So for me to have a whole room of my own..."
"You could," Kim said. "Live there, I mean. We'd love to have you. You're officially family now, but you've been part of our little family for far longer. It would be weird not to have you around now, honestly."
"You want me to live with you?" Hana whispered, a stunned expression on her face.
"Only if you want to," Ron quickly added. "No pressure. You could just visit a lot instead. Either way, we'd love to see you as often as we can."
Hana frowned. "But you're married now. You have to do married stuff. Like... like sex! You can't do that with me there! Can you?"
Ron turned bright red. "Actually, we have talked about that, too. We're prepared to, um... warn you ahead of time. So you could either leave for a while, listen to some loud music, or use that deep meditation technique that Yori showed you."
Hana stared at them. "For you to have gone to all this trouble and given it this much thought, you must really want me to live with you. Or is this just about keeping an eye on me, now that I have my own team?"
"That's part of it," Kim admitted. "But we were going to ask you even before we found out about that. We love you, Hana, and we want you around. We wouldn't lie about that."
"You might lie about why you wanted me around, though," Hana countered. "But I can tell that you're not lying right now."
"Uh, okay," Kim replied. "So what's your answer?"
"Maybe," Hana said. "I have two conditions. First, you two have to have some kids. None of this, 'you're our kid, we don't need any others' stuff. I want to see some little Stoppables pretty soon. Second, I have to talk this over with my folks."
Ron was clearly shocked. "You do? But you never talk anything over with Mom and Dad. Especially when Kim's involved."
"Which should tell you how big and important a choice this is. I won't move in unless they're okay with it. And even if they say no, I still want that room."
"Done," Ron agreed. "Kinda surprised you didn't hold out for a dog, though."
Hana snorted. "A dog couldn't keep up with me." She paused, then added, "But if you ever decide to breed Rufus, I call dibs on the first baby."
"Target in sight," Shego murmured, an evil grin spreading across her face. High above her, not even bothering to use the clouds for cover, was the single Diablo robot. At that distance, she could not make out Motor Ed, but knew he had to be aboard, which was the only reason she had not simply blown the robot out of the sky.
"Okay, Hego," Shego said as she turned to her brother. "Get me up there, and then go back to the team."
There was no change in the blank expression on his face, but Hego immediately responded to the order, picking Shego up around the waist with one hand. He tensed for a moment, drawing back his throwing arm, and then hurled her into the air like a giant dart. Though Shego could not see him after that point, she knew he would climb back into the hovercraft and fly back to base, just as she'd instructed him to.
The Diablo was in range within seconds, and Hego's aim had been true: his throw had cleared the robot's height, but still left her near enough to close the distance on her own. Shego's hands ignited, and she directed twin streams of crimson energy above her, propelling herself down toward the Diablo. The landing was simple, and she touched down on the robot's right shoulder with ease.
"Whoa, green babe!" a familiar voice called up to her.
Shego looked down to see Motor Ed, trapped firmly within the robot's fist. "Eddie," she said coolly.
He laughed nervously. "Hey, you're not still sore that I called you an accessory, right? Because that was totally a compliment! Seriously!"
Shego closed her eyes and silently counted to five before opening them. "We'll talk about that after I've gotten you into a nice, comfy room with no witnesses," she assured him with a smile that promised pain. "But for now, just shut up and-"
"I couldn't agree more," said a voice above her, and that was all the warning Shego got as she looked up and got a boot planted in her face. Had the attacker been larger and using more force, the blow would have easily broken Shego's nose, a fact she was sure they were both aware of. But the reduced force was less a mercy and more an insult than anything else. Kim would have aimed for an arm, seeking to disable. But a face-plant that was really just a love tap was the height of rudeness.
Not that any of this mattered, because the moment Shego recognized the voice, she raked her glowing hands through the air, seeking to take off the foot at the ankle. She would have, had the owner not already drawn back their leg and dropped past her, landing in a crouch at the middle of the robot's forearm.
"You," Shego hissed angrily, brushing irritably at the slight boot print on her face.
Hana grinned merrily up at her. "Hi, Shego. I've really been wanting to see you again, but Kim wouldn't let me out to play with you. Sorry you had to wait so long. I promise to make this worth it."
Shego bit back a reply as she stared at the young girl before her. She had pictured this moment in her mind for years now, imagined ripping Hana apart with a savagery that Kim had just never inspired in her. But now that she was in the moment, there was a surprising sense of calm, tinged only with a hint of anticipation. It wasn't as if Hana could run away from her up here, after all.
Hana's smile widened. "You have something you want to ask, I can tell."
"You changed me," Shego stated. "Turned my plasma red, made it stronger. Made me stronger. I want to know why. I need to know why. Because it makes no sense no matter how I look at it."
"You know why I did it, Shego," Hana replied. "You just don't want to admit it. You want to keep telling yourself that I'm just a kid trying to follow in Kim's footsteps, and that I couldn't possibly be a real threat to you." Hana's eyes glazed over, and what first looked like golden tears in her eyes suddenly became golden lightning that danced across her face, down her front, and then all over her body. "You can't accept what you know deep down is true: that Kim wasn't the forerunner, she was only the opening act. I'm the one you've been waiting for, the only person who can truly push you past your limits. And even with your comet power, there was still some question as to whether or not you'd still be around and in peak fighting shape by now. Well, you are, and I couldn't be happier about it." Hana paused and chuckled softly. "Feel free to thank me at any time."
"You snotty little brat," Shego snapped, but her tone lacked the usual anger. "If even half of that is true, you just made your own worst enemy."
"No," Hana disagreed, her smile growing even wider. "I just made my new best friend. So come on, Shego. Let's play."
There were no words as the two flew at each other, and collision of their powers tainted the sky with bright, blinding explosions of orange.
The moment Bonnie turned to find Wade and Joss running up to her at the wedding reception, she warned them: "If you wreck my car, you're paying for it."
Joss plastered a wide smile on her face. "Bonnie, you're so silly! We would never wreck your car! I mean, you give us money."
"Maybe you wouldn't wreck it on purpose. But I know what you people get into. So if what you're about to ask for includes the possibility that missiles might be fired at my car, I need to know now."
Joss pouted. "So you can say no?"
Bonnie rolled her eyes. "No, so I can get the special car that is best equipped to deal with multiple missile strikes, obviously."
Before Joss could answer, Wade cut across her. "How long would it take to get that car here?"
Bonnie sighed. "Maybe six minutes. Something told me I'd need it today. So who is trying to kill Kim this time?"
Joss exchanged a knowing glance with Wade, both instantly deciding not to correct Bonnie's assumption that Kim was the target. "Shego and Team Go. Maybe Dr. Drakken, too," Joss said.
"I don't even want to know, if that man is involved," Bonnie murmured, taking out her cellphone. "It just better not be soda clones again."
"Actually, if you have a car with stealth options, that might-" Joss began, but Bonnie held up a hand to silence her.
"Hello, Logan," Bonnie said into the phone. "I'm going to need SSJ-T at the wedding, and make it fast. Yes, I'm perfectly aware what I said: SSJ-T. It's going to be one of those days." She turned back to Joss and Wade. "So which one of you wants to tell me where we're going? And make no mistake, I am going with you. If it's safe enough for you two, it's safe enough for me."
"We need to swing by the mall to pick up my Joss-bot," Joss explained. "And then we need to avoid whoever is currently tracking her. Other than me, I mean."
"And not a word to Kim yet," Wade quickly added. "We are not ruining this day for her unless there's just no other way. And even then I'd call in every favor I had first."
Five minutes into the fight, Shego knew for sure that something was wrong.
Despite only having met Hana the one time years ago, Shego had formed certain expectations of her, none of which seemed to fit the person she'd been trading blows with. Shego had been expecting a twelve year-old girl, trained to fight by Kim Possible, cocky enough where she wasn't smart enough to use everything she'd learned, and aided by some vague but definite mystical abilities. Shego could have taken a girl like that apart inside two minutes, if she were feeling particularly generous, which was admittedly rare these days.
But that was not at all the person Shego had been fighting. Instead, the girl before her had displayed strength that easily exceeded Hego's, a brutal love of inflicting pain that Shego had seen in only a handful of fairly disturbed people, and an unmistakable mastery of ancient fighting technique that could only have been honed over more years than Kim Possible had even been alive. All of it lead Shego to one ironclad conclusion.
"You're not Hana Stoppable," she whispered.
The girl paused and grinned. "What gave it away?"
Shego blinked in surprise. "Not even going to try and deny it?"
"I was asked to play along until you figured it out. You know now, so the game is over."
"And I win?" Shego asked cautiously, not dropping her guard for an instant.
The fake Hana only grinned wider. "I didn't say that."
"Yeah, I noticed," Shego muttered. "Lots of things gave it away. But the first thing that really set off the alarm bells was your power. It was red last time, same as mine is now, and there was no golden lightning."
"No point in keeping up the illusion, then." The fake Hana folded her arms over her chest, and in a golden flash of light, her true form was revealed.
Shego stared in disbelief. "You're a monkey?!"
"Ape, technically," the stranger corrected in a deep voice, startling her further.
"You're a TALKING monkey?!"
"I am Yono the Destroyer," the ape replied, his green eyes narrowing dangerously.
"Okay. Yono, then. What do you want with Motor Ed?"
"Nothing," Yono replied simply. "But I cannot allow you to have him. I swore an oath. Attempt to defy me, and you will regret it."
Shego shook her head irritably. "Next question: where is the girl hiding?"
Yono shrugged, obviously growing bored with the questions already. "I have a suspicion. I will not share it."
"You might as well. I'm going to hunt her down eventually."
Her response seemed to renew Yono's interest. "You seek battle with the Han?"
Shego stared at him, a little puzzled by the question. "Uh, yeah, sure."
"Ah. That is different, then."
And before Shego could ask how it was different, Yono's furry fist crashed into her face.
Just like Hana had figured, MC Honey's boat was less like a boat and more like a yacht. A guard the size of a bear allowed them onto the boat, where a small but highly trained crew met them with identical smiles and arms full of gifts. Hana found out quickly that each of the gifts had come from one of Kim's celebrity friends, all of whom had skipped the wedding in order to avoid dramatically increasing the size of the crowd involved. The singer Britina had even sent along a gift for Hana: her entire line of Britina dolls, complete with a doll mansion nearly the width of king size bed for them to live in. Hana had never really been the doll sort of girl, but she was still very impressed, and made a point to call and thank Britina before they left the docks.
They had barely been on the boat for ten minutes when the crew announced that a light dinner had been prepared. This turned out to be an understatement, as the only word Hana could even think of to describe the wide assortment of foods was "feast", and as Ron's little sister, she had never been easily impressed where food volume was concerned. Hana decided that MC Honey was either a very good friend of Kim's, or owed her a great deal more than Kim had ever let on. Not wanting to seem unappreciative, Hana loaded down her plate once, twice, three times, and then some more, until she was so stuffed that she could barely move. By the end, even Ron was staring at her in shock, as no person had ever out-eaten him before.
"Had enough?" Kim asked, looking torn between amusement and disgust as she gently poked Hana's protruding belly.
Hana managed a loud groan and little else.
"Yeah, I think you just earned yourself an early bedtime, Han," Ron chuckled.
Hana blinked sleepily. "Okay. But when I wake up, you guys better still be doing it. I want little Stoppables, remember?"
Ron blushed and did his best to sound stern. "Han? Bed. Now."
"Okay, okay," Hana sighed. "You don't have to be such a prude, Ronnie. It's just sex. Even better, it's sex with Kim. You should be thrilled."
"Sweetie, please stop talking about sex," Kim groaned. "You're making it very difficult for Ron to concentrate, and I want all his attention when we do get started. Nothing kills the mood faster than hearing his twelve year-old sister talk about sex."
"Why? I haven't had it yet."
"BED!" Ron positively shouted.
Hana rolled her eyes and got out of her chair with some difficulty. She waddled over to Ron, gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek, then turned to Kim. "I have to tell you something, Kim."
"I'm listening," Kim said, giving Hana her full attention.
"I'm really happy we're officially sisters now. You're the only other girl I'd let anywhere near my brother, so I'm glad you two picked each other. I thought a long time about what I wanted to give you as a wedding present, and I think I got a good one."
"You didn't have to get us anything," Kim replied at once.
"I wanted to." Hana turned to Ron. "Ronnie, you're getting my awesome big sister for a wife. If you ever hurt her, even though you are my brother, I'll break your arm." She turned back to Kim. "Kim, I give you my permission to do whatever you want to him, without fear of any interference from me. I'm trusting you to take good care of him, and to punish him when he needs it. So if you're worried about me doing a mystical ninja flip out because you two are moving, I won't. I'm glad you'll be together, and I'm even happier that you invited me to join you." She paused and frowned. "But never get divorced. That would make me flip out, mystical ninja powers or not."
"We're never getting divorced," Kim assured her. "But thanks for threatening us, anyway. It shows you care."
"I really do," Hana agreed, giving Kim a big hug. "I'd do anything to protect you guys."
Kim frowned as she returned the hug. "That's not your job, Hana."
"I know. But that wouldn't stop me." Hana kissed Kim on the cheek and then let her go. "I'm going to bed now, and I don't want to be disturbed by anything except cries of passion from you two." She rolled her eyes again as both Kim and Ron pointed firmly to the door. "I know, I know: bed!"
"How can the blasted command signal be moving?!" Dr. Drakken howled for the third time, pacing back and forth across the hoverjet's bridge. "You can't just pick up an entire satellite dish and move it!"
"Technically, you could," Electronique disagreed. "You could either put the dish on some sort of large transport, or make the dish small enough that it would be even easier to move."
"Impossible!" Drakken snapped. "There's no way anyone on Team Possible would have the resources to pull either of those off!"
"It wouldn't be that difficult," Electronique insisted. "I could do it with a few things from my lab. A shrink ray for the dish, for example. Or an enlarging ray for the transport. And I know they've used both in the past. So have we, for that matter."
"But they're all supposed to be at Kim Possible's wedding! Not executing a major operation!"
"Well, the command signal is clearly moving. Every time we get close to it, in fact. Almost like it's alive and knows we're looking for it."
Drakken considered this for a moment, frowning. "I suppose it's not impossible," he grumbled reluctantly. "Much as I hate James Possible, even if he didn't have time to build a robot that could do this, he has easy access to people who could. But I would think such people would also be at the wedding, which would mean the robot is on its own. Perhaps if we-"
"Something's wrong," one of the Wego twins interrupted from his seat at the hoverjet's controls. "Sis has activated her distress signal."
Drakken stared at him, not immediately comprehending the statement. "Shego has a distress signal?" he asked slowly.
"Well, she's never actually used it, but yes. This must be serious, especially if she would admit she's in trouble."
"Change course immediately," Drakken ordered.
Electronique gaped at him in shock. "But the command signal-"
"Shego is more important." Drakken didn't look happy as he said it, but he was clearly not going to change his mind, and he was the ranking commander on board. "Hench will complain that the mission failed, but that's nothing compared to what he'd do if we lost Shego."
Electronique rather thought it was more than that, but wisely kept silent. In truth, she felt far more loyalty toward Shego than Drakken, and had wondered how he would respond in such a situation. It was clear to her now that all hard feelings aside, Drakken valued Shego at least as much as she did, if not more.
"This is so weird," Bonnie muttered, shaking her head at the scene before her. At Joss's request, they had picked up her Joss-bot just outside of Middleton In Bonnie's limo. From the look of it, the Joss-bot had been running on foot non-stop for the past few hours, crashing through anything in her way, which clearly included a few miles of forest. Joss had immediately, much to Bonnie's disgust, pulled off the Joss-bot's head so she could make some adjustments, apparently not at all bothered by the headless body sitting patiently next to her.
"It's not weird," Joss protested as she continued to carefully poke around in the Joss-bot's head with a screwdriver. "If you'd been running for your life, wouldn't you want someone to fuss over you?"
"I meant, it's weird that she looks just like you, and you've got her computer brains spread all over the seat like it's nothing."
"Well, I didn't want to wait," Joss replied. "The moment I got the all clear from Hana, I wanted to disable the command signal and install the cloaking technology. It's just lucky my poor Joss-bot is in such good shape, but I never expected anyone to lock in on her as fast as Dr. Drakken did. Maybe I underestimated him. I guess even stupid geniuses have their good days." She gave the Joss-bot's shoulder an affectionate pat. "Just a little longer, hon, and Mama will have you back together, good as new!"
"What does any of this have to do with Kim's wedding?" Bonnie asked abruptly.
Joss blinked and slowly raised her eyes to meet Bonnie's curious gaze. "Well... nothing."
Bonnie glared at her. "You said-"
"I said," Joss interrupted, "that there was something I wanted to arrange on the day of Kim's wedding. I never said it had anything to do with the wedding. And even though Kim doesn't know about it, what we're doing here is helping Hana. All we really did was trick you into something you would have agreed to do, anyway."
"Then why didn't you just tell me the truth?"
"Because then you might have said something to Kim, and we didn't want her to know. You're more her friend than ours, after all. And this way, if Kim asks, you can honestly tell her you didn't know about our plan beforehand."
"And why I shouldn't call Kim right now and tell her about this?"
Joss smirked. "Kim may like you now, Bonnie, but I don't think she likes anyone enough that she'd be happy that they interrupted her honeymoon. Especially not to tell her something that's going to make her mad, and could have waited until she got back."
Bonnie frowned at her. "If you really think this is something Kim wouldn't want to know right away, maybe I really am a better friend to her than you are."
"Yes, she would want to know now. But she doesn't need to know now. I'd rather her find out once the matter has been completely settled. If you tell her now, she'll drop everything to come back, but it isn't necessary at all."
Bonnie thought for a moment. "I'll make you a deal, Joss. If this comes back to bite me, you and I are done. No contact, no funding, no nothing. So you better be sure you're right about this."
"I'm sure," Joss said at once. "I believe in Hana, and you should, too."
Ron woke up to the day's first rays of sunlight on his face, and the instantly comforting presence of Kim lying next to him. Grinning, he started to lean over and kiss her, perfectly willing to ignore the small amount of drool at the corner of her mouth.
The perfect body double glaring at him from the other side of the bedroom was impossible to ignore, at least, this time.
"We need to talk," the other Ron said in a no-nonsense tone, crossing his arms over his chest.
Ron sighed and sat up in bed. "Look, I think it was pretty decent of me not to go to a therapist and have him put me on meds that would wipe you out completely. I'd say that rates an undisturbed honeymoon, so do me a solid for once, okay?"
"Fool," the other Ron sneered. "I'm only here to give you a warning. It's time to open your eyes. You know what is happening, but you've willed yourself to ignore the signs. You are blinded by your love for the halfling."
"She's got a name, and there's no reason you can't use it."
"Hana, then! Keep playing these useless games and you will lose her for good!"
Ron shook his head. "Dude, get real. I couldn't lose Hana if I wanted to. Which I don't."
The other Ron laughed as he began to fade away. "You have already lost her, or started to. Even now, she walks the other path. You have failed in your duty to guide her, and if you don't do something soon, she will be the next dark destroyer, and you will be powerless to stop her."
Ron blinked and jumped out of bed, only vaguely aware of Kim shifting and murmuring his name as his feet hit the floor. He burst out of the room without bothering to acknowledge her, and perhaps that, more than anything else, was what made her follow him. Ron ran straight to Hana's room and kicked the door open with no clear effort.
Hana was curled up in her bed, and at first appeared to be in a deep sleep. But Ron's eyes could easily spot the faintly glowing trails of red mist that was the passage of her magic as it wound its way repeatedly around her body. Hana had never slept like that before, and in fact the only time he'd seen her magic respond that way was when she was deep in meditation. As Kim stepped up beside him, Ron knew she would be unable to see the magic, but there was something he knew they could both see. With trembling hands, he drew back the sheet and exposed Hana's hands. The backs of her hands were both covered in thick, brown fur, and while the left palm was unmarked, the right bore the unmistakable symbol of a meditating ape within a circle.
"That's Yono's mark," Kim whispered. "Why does she have that?"
"Because I gave it to her," Yono replied as he appeared at the window, studying them with a remarkable lack of concern. "As I do to all who agree to follow the path of the Yono."
"Hana would never do that," Ron snapped.
"And yet, she did. Clearly one of us is wrong, and it isn't me. I cannot force anyone to take my mark. It must always be freely accepted, and serves as a visible reminder of the contract between myself and my summoner. Whatever attachment you feel for the Han, know that I expect her to honor our contract before all else. Failure to comply would result in rather severe penalties, even by my standards."
Ron glared at him. "There is no way I'm going to let-"
"Would you have her share the same fate as the one called Monkey Fist?" Yono interrupted. "The circumstances differed, but the results would be largely identical. So unless you prefer her as a statue, I suggest you stop acting as if you had any control over the situation. The Han chose this, and of her own free will. My contract with her in no way requires your intervention. I suspect this is exactly why you are only just now learning of it."
"And this was her idea?" Kim asked slowly. "Not yours?"
Yono gave her an obviously bored look. "Do you not recall that I must be summoned first, before I can have any impact upon this world? I cannot summon myself, only someone who knows how can. The Han called me forth, I merely answered her summons. She requested the contract. Without it, at most all we would have done was exchanged greetings before I returned to my temple. And that is hardly a good reason to summon me."
"Hana said that when her power speaks to her, it sounds like you," Kim stated. "Is that a coincidence?"
"Of course not. The Han is my counterpart, and I am hers. We share a bond that no human could possibly understand. Even when I am not physically present or summoned, there is a certain amount of oneness between us. She knew how to summon me despite never being told, and I knew what she would ask of me the moment I first saw her again. Even if you had the power to sever the contract, it would make no difference. We can always find each other, and we communicate without words. You do not have to believe any of this, and it is none of my concern, anyway. The Han knows what is required of her. You can try to stop her if you like, but rest assured it will do no good. She has no intention of ending up like Monkey Fist, and there is no reason why she should. My advice to you is to stay out of her way. At the Han's request, and as part of our contract, I will not harm you. Also as part of our contract, I will stand guard over her while she recovers. In short, I am not leaving her side until then. You may do as you wish, with that in mind."
"What exactly is she recovering from?" Ron demanded. "What did you do to her?"
Yono seemed amused by Ron's anger. "The Han required that I take on her form for a short time. This ability was not within my power, though it was within hers. The only way I could do as she asked was to take in some of her power. But as I would be doing this under battle conditions, I needed a constant flow of her power. Fortunately, my standard contract allows for a free, constant exchange of energy between my summoner and myself, so this was no problem, at least on my end. But as the Han was unaccustomed to sharing her power, we correctly predicted that this would put a considerable drain on her magic. In particular, I was drawing far more power from her than she was taking back from me. She has never had to draw power from another source, and in addition, she did not wish to deprive me of any power I might need to accomplish the mission."
"That's why she pigged out at dinner," Kim realized. "She was trying to compensate for all the power she'd lost."
"Well, the mission's done, so can't you just give the power back now?" Ron asked Yono, with more than a little accusation in his tone.
Yono shook his head. "This is why I preferred to have all our dealings with you occur exclusively through the Han: there is too much you do not know, and that I have neither time nor inclination to explain. There are two important points to be aware of, however. First, the Han will recover her magic quickly, and all that I need do in that time is stand guard over her. Second, any excess power that she still requires to function will be restored to her at a pre-appointed date. That is also in our contract, which the Han could have told you if she so desired. Clearly, she did not."
"And she's always going to have your mark," Kim murmured, clearly not liking the idea.
"No," Yono replied, startling Kim and Ron both. "While the Han expressed a strong interest in the two of us becoming... 'teammates', I believe she called it... I share no such desire. Once she recovers, the terms of our initial contract will have been met. As a sign of good faith, I will remove my mark at that time."
"How many contracts with her do you have?" Kim asked.
"Two. The first detailed what actions we would perform for the duration of her mission. The second detailed payment for my services."
"And what exactly does that include?" Ron demanded.
Yono smiled in a way that made Kim very uneasy. "You would have to ask the Han. But based on what I have seen and heard so far, I imagine she would not tell you anything more than she already has."
"Well, I'm standing guard, too," Ron announced, glaring at Yono.
Yono's only response was to shrug: clearly, he did not care.
"What about the fur on her hands?" Kim asked.
"Another foreseen risk of the Han's shapeshifting ability being passed between us for so long," Yono replied. "I was taking on her form, and she unintentionally began to take on mine. She will return to her default state once her magic has had time to regenerate."
"I don't think we should trust him," Ron said stubbornly.
"I don't think Hana has left us much choice," Kim pointed out.
Dr. Drakken could not manage to keep the shock off of his face as he carefully turned up the temperature on the nutrient bath. After years of research, he had discovered a precise combination of minerals and chemicals that was comparable to the composition of the multi-colored comet that had given the members of Team Go their powers. The only impact the mixture had now, however, was to accelerate what was already high speed cell regeneration in those with comet powers.
Shego had not been impressed with the discovery, of course, and resented the very implication that she would ever be harmed to the point where she would need assistance in healing. True, the most routine injuries that Shego had suffered over the years was some minor bruising whenever Kim Possible or Shego herself introduced heavy objects into their brawls, and that had always bruised Shego's pride more than her body. And Drakken could genuinely count the times he had seen Shego severely injured on one hand, and still have fingers left over. This was definitely one of those times, and it was also the worst. Despite the danger in being found, Drakken had immediately taken Shego to one of his old Middleton lairs. It was very likely that Kim Possible knew the address, but Drakken could only hope she would be too preoccupied with her wedding to bother dropping in on them.
There were large, orange-tinted bruises all over Shego's body, including what would have been a black eye on nearly anyone else. She had also suffered several cracked ribs and various broken bones, as well as a blow to the head that had arguably left her brain scrambled. At least, nothing else could quite explain why Shego had been babbling senselessly from the moment Mego had brought her back, or why she had insisted on calling Drakken "Wubsie" and kept whining for him to get naked and cuddle with her. Drakken had been all too happy to put her to sleep and submerge her in the nutrient bath, as it spared them both from further embarrassment. Electronique had shot him several curious looks, but thankfully had not questioned him on the matter. But she did share a disturbing observation with him.
"It's pretty obvious that they were ready for us. Or anything, really. There just aren't people in Shego's league. There's her, and there's Kim Possible. That's it. There shouldn't have been someone that could do this kind of damage to her. And even if there were, Kim would have brought them aboard years ago. This just isn't adding up."
"Nothing ever does when Hana Stoppable is involved," Drakken said dully. "Thank goodness Shego had the foresight to keep Mego in her ankle pouch the whole time, or she might not have escaped at all."
"Yes, that was a good idea. But what do we do now?"
"I am going to make sure that Shego heals properly. Whatever our next move is, I don't want to make it until she's in fighting shape again. I think she would feel the same way, were she in her right mind."
"You know her better than anyone else," Electronique agreed. "And I'm not at all eager to tangle with someone who could do this to her. Just what sort of monster is this kid?"
Drakken shook his head. "According to Mego, it wasn't Hana Stoppable at all. Some sort of talking ape that called himself Yono."
"Fiske, then?" Electronique guessed. "But you said he was as good as dead."
"That's the thing: he is. And while I'm sure that he was not behind this, I'm equally sure he's connected somehow. You can bet he knew about anything monkey-related that was this excessively powerful. But as I said, he's in no position to consult on this, so we're on our own."
"Then we currently have no way to defeat this Yono?"
"I have... a contingency plan," Drakken said slowly. "But it's a last resort, and I couldn't activate it now, anyway."
"Because I can't arm it until and unless Shego, in her right mind, agrees. We purposely designed it to be that way."
"I assume this was back when you were still working together?"
Drakken smiled faintly. "Actually, it was just before we joined HWU. The very last project we could manage to agree upon, in fact."
"And you're sure it can handle Yono?"
"It certainly can't do any worse than Shego did. We designed it to be far more powerful than her."
Electronique stared at him in disbelief. "Then why haven't you used it yet?"
"You'll understand, if we're forced to activate Project: S.H.E.L.E., but let's hope it never comes to that."
Next Chapter: The Weapon, Part 4
Kim demands proof that Hana is ready to go pro, and gets far more than she was expecting. With Shego still wounded and GJ closing in, Drakken activates Project S.H.E.L.E., which works a bit better that he thought or hoped.